President Cyril Ramaphosa’s China–Africa Roundtable Closing Remarks on the occasion of the State Visit by Chinese President Xi Jinping, Hilton Hotel, Sandton, 24 August 2023
Your Excellency President Xi Jinping,
Heads of State and Government and Chairs of the Regional Economic Communities in Africa,
Chairperson of the African Union Commission,
Ministers and Advisors,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Our deliberations this evening have been robust, giving us all a sense of the challenges facing Africa and the opportunities for progress.
The discussions highlight the importance of effective regional coordination to enhance and support continental integration.
With the support of China and others, regional development and integration will support the diversification of our economies. It will enable African countries to shift away from the export of raw materials to the export of high-quality manufactured goods and services.
We conclude these deliberations with a clear understanding that the African Continental Free Trade Area is the engine for African economic and regional integration.
We have discussed that investment in infrastructure in Africa will need to be significantly scaled up.
Sustained engagement with China as one of the principal supporters of strategic infrastructure development projects is critical.
We have identified obstacles in the way of regional integration such as inadequate financial resources, poor infrastructure networks, increasing violence, terrorism, political instability and others.
At the same time, the COVID-19 pandemic and the Russia-Ukraine conflict have worsened public finances and increased the debt burden of many African countries. This has reduced infrastructure investment in Africa.
Regional Economic Communities often have limited ability to implement regional agreements. Support by development partners for capacity-building, technological transfer, innovation and knowledge-sharing is therefore crucial.
We have acknowledged the importance of the Forum on China–Africa Cooperation as a means of deepening collaboration in the cause of development.
The adoption of our Joint Statement a few minutes ago will further solidify our resolve and commitment to enhancing China–Africa relations.
It is now incumbent upon us all to translate these intentions into concrete regional actions that are time-bound and results-orientated.
We should use all necessary regional and continental tools, through our Regional Economic Communities and the African Union, to realise our commitment to an integrated, dynamic and prosperous Africa.
I thank you.
Issued by: The Presidency