BEIJING: Improved railway, highway and aviation networks are key to Africa’s competitiveness in the global market, something that can be achieved through strengthened cooperation with China, said Gabon President Ali Ben Bongo in an interview with People’s Daily. He added that China can also provide the continent with the technical support it needs to diversify and stabilize many African economies.

Bongo said he had witnessed the enormous changes taking place in China since his first visit in 1975. The biggest changes, says Bongo, occurred in the spirit of the people. “Chinese are becoming more confident and elated,” he said.

Bongo spoke highly of China’s active participation in Africa’s development, calling the nation one of the continent’s most important partners.

The Gabonese president explained that China has aided African nations in sectors urgently in need of development, such as infrastructure and energy. Chinese enterprises have also aided African countries in developing their mining, forestry and service industries. Overall, Africans have benefited from cooperation with China, Bongo says.

The Gabonese government is currently implementing its Strategic Plan for an Emerging Gabon, which seeks to diversify the country’s economy by 2020 and infrastructure and energy are the key factors for further development. Bongo expected thatChina would play an important role in Gabonese diversification and sustainable development.”

Bongo expressed his high expectations for the upcoming Johannesburg Summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation, calling the summit a valuable opportunity for expanding cooperation and strengthening strategic Sino-African partnerships.

“The summit will evaporate skepticism and promote the present positive relations between China and Africa,” he said.

Bongo expressed confidence in China’s economy, saying it will further boost cooperation between China and Africa.“Chinacan trust Africa and our peoples are good friends. Africans will always be friendly and loyal to our Chinese friends,” he said.