（16 January 2016）
Respected Prof. Pedro Nueno, President of CEIBS,
His Excellency Mr. Willian Hanna, EU Ambassador to Ghana,
Respected Mr. Arnold Ekpe,
Respected Prof. Mathew Tsamenyi,
Faculty Members, Teachers, Students,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
I am very grateful that China Europe International Business School (CEIBS) invited me to be present at this imposing Graduation Ceremony for the 6th Executive Masters in Business Administration and Women Entrepreneurship and Leadership for Africa. Since its founding 21 years ago, CEIBS has taken thought creation, knowledge dissemination, provision of world-leading business teaching and research as its own mission under the banner of "China Depth, Global Breadth", and has achieved international recognition for its quality teaching and running mode. CEIBS has become the No. 1 business school in Asia and top 10 in the world according to the rating of Financial Times. It is truly a privilege for me to witness in Accra the development and expansion of CEIBS’ training programs dedicated to continuously cultivating high-caliber managing talents. Please allow me, on behalf of the Chinese Embassy in Ghana, to extend our warm congratulations to the graduates on your successful completion of studies.
People widely recognize that Africa is a new pillar to drive the global economic growth, and the vast continent of Africa has a huge growth potential. The development and economic transformation of Africa needs international business management personnel and pioneering entrepreneurs. During the Johannesburg Summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation held one month ago, both Chinese and African leaders agreed to upgrade the China-Africa relations to a comprehensive strategic and cooperative partnership, and strengthen the “five major pillars” of China-Africa relations featuring political equality and mutual trust, win-win economic cooperation, mutually enriching cultural exchanges, mutual assistance in security, and solidarity and coordination in international affairs. China and Africa will implement the “ten major cooperation plans” of industrialization, agricultural modernization, infrastructure, finance, green development, trade and investment facilitation, poverty reduction, public health, cultural and people-to-people exchanges, and peace and security. To this end China has pledged US$60 billion funding support. While making up these grand blueprints, both the Chinese side and the African side have identified lack of professional and skilled talents as a major bottleneck holding back the independent and sustainable development of Africa. Therefore the two sides are resolved to intensify their cooperation on education and human resources development. This will surely give a fresh impetus to the development of CEIBS. The Chinese side looks forward to stepping up cooperation with our international partners.
Today people are also wondering about the economic performance of China. In the past year of 2015, China's economy faced the pressure of slowing down. However, despite the complex and volatile global economic situation, China’s economy still operates within a proper range. The growth rate of 7 percent is still at the top of major economies in the world and Chinese economic structure has chalked up some significant improvement. The services sector already accounts for half of China's GDP, and consumption contributes 60% to its growth. The growth rate of per capita disposable income outruns that of GDP. New growth impetus, especially the internet-based economy, is in full swing. Last October the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China adopted a proposal on the formulation of national economic and social development plan for the period from 2016 to 2020, i.e. the 13th Five-Year Plan. This Plan will be the first five-year plan rolled out under China’s current central leadership with President Xi Jinping as Party General Secretary. It will be China’s arduous endeavor to overcome the ‘middle income trap’ and continue its development at a higher level. It will be the final sprint to the target year set for the first centenary goal of establishing an all-round affluent society. It will be the decisive period in our journey to realize the renewal of the Chinese nation. According to the new plan for the next five years, China will abide by the four-pronged comprehensive strategy to finish building a moderately prosperous society, to deepen reform, to advance the law-based governance, and to strengthen Party self-discipline. To adapt to the new trends and new opportunities in China’s economic and social development, and to prevail against the new problems and new challenges, a new set of development concepts of innovation, balanced growth, green economy, opening-up, and inclusive development is entrenched. In this way, we will solve the problem of unbalanced, uncoordinated and unsustainable development and enable the Chinese economy to successfully transform itself and maintain strong momentum of growth.
China's development provides historical opportunities for Africa and Ghana. China and Africa, Ghana included, are enjoying unprecedentedly close relations, with China-Africa cooperation contributing to more than 20% of Africa's growth. African countries are striving for economic transformation. They are keen on replacing the low-value-added development mode characterized by over-reliance on exports of raw materials and primary products, and they are longing for speeding up industrialization and enhancing capacities to fend off economic and financial risks. China has stepped into a more mature stage of industrialization, with abundant surplus capacity that is competitive, advanced and green. This copes well with the exact need of Africa. The international cooperation on industrial production capacity and equipment manufacturing promoted by China has brought new opportunities for Africa's efforts in realizing its dream of industrialization.
Ghana is an important partner of China in carrying out industrial capacity cooperation. Ghana is endowed with a fairly open market, well-educated workforce, geographical advantages and a relatively good foundation for development. For the first three quarters of last year, China-Ghana bilateral trade volume exceeded US$5 billion, an increase of 27.9% over the same period of the previous year. Ghanaian local enterprises such as Africa Slipway, Prefos, Kantaka, and Jospong have upgraded their manufacturing level and gained the recognition of the market by introducing in Chinese technology and equipment. In the implementation of the follow-up action of Johannesburg Summit of FOCAC, the Chinese side will make full use of the policy tools such as the SME incubation facilities, China-Africa Development Fund, Capacity Cooperation Fund, and provide strong support to China-Ghana cooperation based on mutual benefit and common development.
I am hearty to see so many women graduates today and I want to applaud CEIBS for training a great number of women entrepreneurs for Africa. Women have the unique attributes of being intelligent, responsible and persistent. In China, we say women can hold up half of the sky. In Africa and Ghana, a growing number of women have changed their destiny by relying on their knowledge, wisdom and the industrious hands to create their own piece of the sky to fly. Gender equality and women empowerment is no longer a remote dream.
As the first woman ambassador of China to Ghana, I have been devoting myself to promoting the traditional friendship between China and Ghana, and deepening the pragmatic cooperation of the two countries. My heart is always filled with confidence and pride resulting from my work. And I have full confidence in all the lady friends present today that you will give full play to your unique attributes and charisma to make significant contributions to the development of Africa and Ghana.
Once again warm congratulations! I wish all of you a bright future and a happy life.