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President Peter Mutharika hails Malawi, China ties

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President Peter Mutharika has reiterated that Malawi remains focused and committed to all development pacts and arrangements the country has with China, saying it is the best way to improve local livelihoods through development of infrastructure and strengthening of institutions.

He said this on Saturday during the Forum for Africa- China Cooperation (Focac) Summit in Johannesburg.

“The China-Africa relationship has greatly benefited Malawi in particular and Africa in general. Since the inception of the Forum on China- Africa Cooperation about 15 years ago, and the holding of Beijing Focac Summit in 2006, we have made significant and tremendous progress.

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“Most of the activities enshrined under this platform for consultation and dialogue are on track. As a nation, we are proud to note that the Focac Beijing Action Plan (2013-2015) is on course,” Mutharika said.

He then disclosed that Malawi intends to contribute to the progress of the corporation saying, “We are also looking forward to gaining more from the corporation. Above all, we look forward to learning great lessons from China and how you made yourselves a great nation. I believe any African country can do what China has done.”

Mutharika also called upon fellow African leaders to take charge even in the presence of Chinese help as the destiny of Africa is better defined by localised priorities.

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“This China-Africa partnership needs to walk in that path of localisation of international goals and indigenisation of policies. One of the saddest tragedies in most Africans is that we lost faith in ourselves, and stopped believing in ourselves, that we own the capacity to change our situation. Africa needs partnerships that inspire this inner capacity and dignify our longing for self-dependence,” he said, quoting Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe who advised African leaders, saying “There are things one must do for oneself.”

He pointed out how crucial Chinese cooperation is in line with post- Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) blueprints such as the newly adopted Sustainable Development Goals (SGDs).

China has since announced a package of new measures for cooperation with Africa in five key areas. These cover investment and financial cooperation, the African integration agenda, people-to-people relations, peace and security and development assistance.

China – which has so far injected some $220 billion into Africa—committed extra funds amounting $60 billion for infrastructure projects on the continent.

Since Malawi shifted relations from Taiwan to China, it has benefited in colossal infrastructure projects that include the Parliament building, a five-star hotel, conference centre, presidential villas and a national stadium, all in Lilongwe.

Other projects are the Malawi University of Science and Technology (MUST) in Thyolo.

The second phase of Chinese projects is worth close to US $1 billion and has projects in energy, tourism, agriculture and the manufacturing sector.—State House Press Office

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