China plays critical role in South-South economic cooperation, UN says

18 March 2005

The economies of large developing countries, including China, will surpass many of those of the developed world in the decades ahead, offering wider market access and services and, hopefully, providing aid for least developed countries, especially in Africa, according to a senior United Nations development official.

"China has been for many years a strong supporter of South-South cooperation," UN Development Programme (UNDP) Associate Administrator Zéphirin Diabré told the launch ceremony of the China-Africa Business Council (CABC) yesterday, referring to aid provided by developing countries to less developed nations.

"It is also setting an important example by honouring the commitments made by the world community at the Monterrey Conference on Financing for Development by reducing or cancelling 10.5 billion Yuan ($1.2 billion) of debt in favour of 31 African countries," he said, noting the importance of South-South cooperation in easing poverty.

CABC, a joint initiative between UNDP, the Chinese Government and China Guangcai Programme, a non-governmental organization with a membership of 14,000 private companies, aims to promote investment and trade between China and Africa under the South-South Cooperation Framework. With an initial funding of $1 million, it derives much of its Chinese membership from the China Guangcai Programme.

The first group of five African countries are Cameroon, Ghana, Mozambique, Nigeria, and Tanzania.

Mr. Diabré stressed that South-South Cooperation was an effective tool to alleviate poverty and achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) of slashing a host of social and economic ills, such as extreme poverty and hunger, infant and maternal mortality and lack of access to health care and education.

He noted that China had been supporting Africa in many areas such as infrastructure development, health, education and agriculture.

"If the same spirit is applied to other challenges, such as ensuring food security and fighting HIV/AIDS, China can really help African countries reach the Millennium Development Goals," Mr. Diabré added.

He emphasized the leading role that the private sector plays in long-term poverty alleviation and the achievements of the MDGs. "By contributing to economic growth and job creation, businesses empower poor people by increasing their revenues and providing a broad range of essential goods and services," he said.


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