19 July 2012

Africa: Tunisia Participates in Fifth Chinese-African Co-Operation Forum's Ministerial Meeting

Beijing — Tunisia is taking part, as of Thursday in Beijing, in the two-day Fifth Chinese-African Co-operation Forum's Ministerial meeting.

"The meeting will be crowned with important decisions meant notably to create a development fund for African countries worth millions of dollars, as well as to set up and finance industrial areas in three countries, among which Tunisia," said Secretary-State to Maghreb, African and Arab Affairs Abdallah Triki who is leading the Tunisian delegation in this Conference.

The point, he went on saying, is also to develop human resources and encourage green trade between the different states.

Besides, Mr. Triki informed that he had met, on Wednesday, with Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi with whom he had discussed the bilateral co-operation development prospects and stressed the need to follow up the agreements signed by the two countries.

China, he said, has approved of the opening of a Tunis-Beijing straight-through air link starting from next year, expressing hope that this airline will help energise rapprochement between the two countries, especially that Tunisair Company is to acquire 13 new airplanes, including mainline aircrafts.

He added that China is mobilising significant funds to develop sustainable and clean energies, specifying that Tunisia not only is to benefit from part of them but also from a Chinese training programme dedicated to about 40,000 employees in various sectors of activity.

For his part, state secretary to Maghreb, African and Arab Affairs said he had met with a number of officials from one of the most leading Chinese companies specialised in information technologies, adding that this company, set up since 2011 in Tunisia, is planning to broaden the scope of its activities in the country.

Mr. Triki reminded, in this regard, that China decided, during the Tunisian-Chinese Co-operation Forum, held recently in Hammamet, to establish a tourism training school in Tunisia for Chinese students.

China, he added, is annually a sender of some 40 million tourists, a figure which is expected to reach 100 million by 2017, expressing hope that Tunisia will make the most of this.

Chinese President Hu Jintao, who chaired the Conference's opening ceremony, announced several decisions that aim to help the Chinese-African partnership acquire a strategic dimension.

These decisions notably include the appropriation of 20 million dollars to strengthen infrastructure and develop the farming sector, manufacturing industries and the African small and medium-sized firms, as part of a three-year co-operation programme.

The Chinese president also reasserted his country's commitment to back up Africa, especially in matters of keeping peace and stability in the continent and conflict settling, away from any foreign interference.

Mr. Hu Jintao also reiterated China's support to African peoples' freedom to choose their own development models, stressing his country's will to favour pan-African economic integration and complementarity, by means of setting up trans-boundary roads and ensuring food security.

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