PRETORIA, The youth of Africa and China have vowed to continue making a positive impact and strengthen relations based on mutual trust, solidarity and co-ordination for the benefit of both countries.

They want to see stronger bonds of friendship, an enlightened understanding of cultures and a commitment to work towards a more just and peaceful world.

This was the overriding message which emerged from the 2nd Africa-China Youth Festival, which was held in Pretoria on Wednesday. The closing session of the three-day festival was co-chaired by South Africa’s Minister of Environmental Affairs, Edna Molewa, Chinese Vice-Premier Liu Yandong and Deputy Minister in the Presidency Buti Manamela.

The festival coincided with the South Africa-China High-Level People-to-People Exchange Mechanism (PPEM). Inaugurated on Monday, the PPEM aims to build on the strong historic ties between South Africa and China. It will create opportunities for non-government entities across academia, business and civil society to interact more frequently through organized structures.

The youth festival was attended by more than 300 youth delegates from various sectors such as business, academia and the diplomatic corps, who reported on the various working groups.

Manamela re-assured that the youth of Africa and China are engaging in an equal and mutually beneficial relationship. This relationship, he said, must go on long after those who are here have taken up new responsibilities.

The world is looking to Africa and China to finally show the way in dealing with the lack of transformation of global institutions, the unipolarity of power and the move towards human development rather than hate, polarisation and underdevelopment, he said.

Liu urged the youth of both countries to remember history and carry forward the baton of friendship between the two nations. She also suggested that the young generations of the two continents exchange and learn from each other, so as to continuously inject fresh vigour into the development and rejuvenation of both countries.

Molewa described the deliberations of the festival as successful and fruitful discussions and called upon all sectors of society to create an enabling environment at a national, regional and global level that will unleash the potential of youth, as the two continents look on youth to drive development.

We look upon you to provide innovative solutions that will enable us to realise our development ambitions, including the realisation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, she said.