The inaugural Asian-African youth festival, which brought together about 400 young people from the two continents for four days, ended here yesterday with the China-Africa Summit beginning in Guangzhou today. The Asian-African Youth Summit is the brainchild of Chinese leader President Xi Jinping and seeks to keep alive the Bandung Spirit of solidarity, friendship and cooperation.
At a farewell gathering in Beijing, youths expressed gratitude to China for hosting the event and pledged to keep alive the ideals of friendship.
“The festival was a huge milestone in enhancing the relations between Asia and Africa and the engagement of youth in these relations offers a sustainable model which strengthens South-South cooperation which allows Asia and Africa to have a bright future,” said Mr Brian Mudumi, President of Zimbabwe-China Youth Forum.
“The forum plays an important role in promoting peace and unity among the people of the world since Asia and China constitute the highest youth demographic. I was so impressed by the spirit and organisation that I even proposed to the organisers that the next festival should be held in Africa and in particular Zimbabwe,” he said.
Xue Yang, a delegate from China, said he had taken note of friendship that naturally flowed between the people of the two continents.
“The most important thing I took from this festival is friendship. I made a lot of friends and learnt a lot from Asians and Africans, including singing and dancing, and I feel grateful,” he said. A journalist from Kenya, Kennedy Kimanthi, said he appreciated the unity and friendship shown by participants.
“The world is divided over a number of issues including ideology and the coming together of youths from different political backgrounds and affiliations demonstrates the kind of unity we should embrace in areas such as economic and political development,” he said noting that with youths cooperating, the future of the two continents was bright.
At the official opening on Wednesday, President Xi sent a letter urging Asian and African countries to strengthen unity and deepen cooperation to better serve the people of the two continents.
Chinese Vice President Li Yuanchao attended the opening ceremony and delivered a keynote speech and expressed the hope that young people from Asia and Africa would become a new force for Asian-African friendship and cooperation, and create a bright future for the two continents.
Zimbabwe was represented by seven delegates, including MDC-T youth league leader Happymore Chidziva.