China, Senegal eye strong relations

Chinese President Xi Jinping will pay a state visit to Senegal at the invitation of his counterpart President Macky Sall. The news made headlines in Senegal after it was released.

Senegal is the westernmost country in Africa. It has another beautiful name, Teranga, meaning hospitality. The Senegalese football team joined the just-concluded 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia and won its first group match.

I’ve been working in Senegal for more than two years. Its cultural inclusiveness impresses me most, allowing me to look for old memories at the Island of Gorée and feel the modern atmosphere along the Corniche ouest Boulevard in Dakar.

Senegal, known for its active diplomacy on the African continent, has made unremitting efforts to bolster development for African countries.

With a population of over 15 million and covering less than 200,000 square kilometers, Senegal must have enough strength so that it could stand out in global diplomatic stage.

Having a complete national system and long-term political stability, the country’s economy grew by 7.2 percent last year.

President Sall proposed the Emerging Senegal Plan that aims to build an emerging market economy by 2035. The president said his country will strengthen cooperation with China because the Chinese people deliver what they promise and carry out tasks resolutely.

The president speaks highly of the Belt and Road Initiative proposed by China, believing that it will bring opportunities to countries around the world and showing willingness to actively participate in the construction of the Belt and Road.

Despite of the long distance between the two countries, China and Senegal have conducted more frequent exchanges at all levels in recent years and enhanced mutual trust. A number of large cooperative projects have created real benefits to local residents and brought the two peoples closer.

President Xi and President Sall have had several meetings at bilateral and multilateral occasions, agreeing to elevate the bilateral relationship into a comprehensive strategic cooperative partnership. Under the care and support of the two heads of state, China-Senegal relationship has grown fast and their practical cooperation has yielded fruitful results.

China’s Africa policy of sincerity, real results, affinity and good faith as well as correct viewpoint on righteousness and benefit, which was put forward by Xi, also serve as its guideline in developing China-Senegal relationship.

China-built projects such as the Grand National Theater, the Black Civilization Museum, children’s hospital, the Confucius Institute, national wrestling stadium have made the graceful and comfortable city of Dakar more beautiful.

Such projects as drilling wells in rural areas, and highways, bridges and information projects funded by China have provided strong support for reviving the Senegalese economy.

In addition, university students in Dakar have great enthusiasm for learning Chinese, and the supply of teachers at the Confucius Institute falls short of demand. Chinese enterprises in Senegal built a two-kilometer-long park for sports activities for local community, drawing hundreds of young people.

With joint efforts, China and Senegal will push for new progress of the comprehensive strategic cooperative partnership.

It’s hoped that under the guidance of the outcomes of President Xi’s visit to Senegal and the spirit of the Beijing Summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC), the two countries will improve bilateral cooperation, innovate and break new ground so as to realize higher-level win-win cooperation and mutual benefits in more fields and at more levels and contribute more to the building of a closer community with shared future for China and Africa and a community with shared future for mankind.

The author is Chinese Ambassador to Senegal