BEIJING, Sept. 3 (Xinhua) -- The Africa-China partnership, in contrast to some allegations, is based on win-win cooperation and mutual benefits, Djiboutian President Ismail Omar Guelleh said here Monday.
The president of the East African country made the remarks while addressing the High-Level Dialogue Between Chinese and African Leaders and Business Representatives and Sixth Conference of Chinese and African Entrepreneurs.
"Our mutual history is one based on win-win cooperation and mutual benefit ... in complete contrast to what some of you have believed," he said.
"In that respect, the number speaks for itself," he said, citing a report to show that close to 90 percent of Chinese companies operating in Africa were privately owned, and 89 percent of their employees were Africans, which translates into several million jobs across the continent.
Speaking of the history of Africa-China cooperation, Guelleh said that since the first meeting of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) 18 years ago, China's investments in Africa have grown exponentially in every single sector.
These investments "have no doubt been a contributing factor to the unprecedented growth our continent has experienced during that time," he said.
He added that FOCAC has been instrumental in pooling critical investments in various areas including infrastructure, power generation, industrialization and agriculture.
The president said Africa has found in China a partner who believes in the continent's ability to lift its people out of poverty and achieve economic independence and self-sufficiency.
China has played an instrumental role in Africa's pursuit of economic growth, he said, noting that the continent has greatly benefited from Chinese investments in its ports, airways and roads, which have improved the movement of goods and persons.
On behalf of East Africa, Guelleh said the region is delighted that it will continue to benefit from the many advantages of the Belt and Road Initiative proposed by China.
"China's investment and involvement in East Africa date back to more than 40 years ago, which demonstrates not only the depth of our friendship, but more importantly, how China, even when it was trying to develop itself and lift its people out of poverty, always extended the hand of friendship to Africa and believed in our success," he said.
China and East Africa have grown together, he said, adding that the region is pleased to see the win-win cooperation and friendship have only deepened and have helped improve the lives of the Chinese and African people.
In conclusion, the president proposed the creation of a joint East Africa-China business council which, he said, would serve as a channel for business cooperation and a forum for economic advancement and reform.
Also speaking at the meeting were other African leaders, including South African President Cyril Ramaphosa, Chadian President Idriss Deby Itno, Mauritanian President Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz, Namibian President Hage Geingob and Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari.