Forum on the 20th Anniversary of Juncao Assistance and Sustainable Development Cooperation
(2 September 2021)
Video Message of H.E. AMB. Josefaleonel Correira Sacko
Commissioner for Agriculture, Rural Development, Blue Economy and Sustainable Environment
African Union Commission
Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen,
All Protocol Duly Observed.
I welcome you on behalf of the African Union Commission to the 20th Anniversary of Juncao Assistance and Sustainable Development Cooperation and I bring you warm greetings from H. E. Moussa Faki Mahamat, the Chairperson of the African Union Commission.
Economic cooperation between China and Africa has deepened in scope and scale in recent times, and FOCAC has emerged as the largest South–South economic partnership platform. China is currently Africa' s number one bilateral trading partner, a major source of infrastructure through the belt and road initiative as well as foreign direct investment. We look forward to deepening these engagements.
The Peoples Republic of China has recorded spectacular success in the past four decades, unparalleled in modern economic history. When China began its economic reforms in the early 1980s, it was a poor country with a GDP per capita of less than $200 and a GDP of about $200 billion. Forty years later, China has a GDP per capita of more than $10,484 in 2020– 50 times larger than in 1980 – and an economy of around $15 trillion, 75 times larger than it was in 1980 making it the second largest economy in the world. One important consequence of such rapid economic growth has been the lifting of more than 800 million Chinese citizens out of poverty. The rest of the world have a lot to learn from China in how to grow sustainably and alleviate poverty.
Today's meeting is no doubt about Juncao- a technology developed in China to grow different types of mushroom from chopped grass and it is assisting countries to reduce poverty. This technology has already been transferred to over 100 countries in Asia, Africa and South Pacific. In Africa, I am informed that the technology is already being implemented in Rwanda, Lesotho and Central African Republic with demonstration centres established in eight other countries (Rwanda, Lesotho, South Africa, Madagascar, Eritrea, Republic of Congo and Nigeria.
Mushrooms can be part of the solution to world's food shortage as well as health problems because of the fact that they occupy a place above vegetables and legumes but below the first class proteins in meat, fish and poultry; and also because they are endowed with bioactive compounds that are of medicinal value. Today mushrooms have become a multi-billion-dollar industry and the demand is growing.
We look forward to expanding this technology to all of 55 African countries and how it can assist us to boost intra-African trade in agriculture through the newly minted African Continental Free Trade Agreement, the largest free trade area in the world since the formation of the World Trade Organization.
I thank you for your attention.