Vietnam is always willing to expand cooperation for development in the spirit of equality and mutual benefit with African countries, State President Nguyen Minh Triet affirmed.

Vietnam can share with friends from African countries its experience in agricultural development, particularly agricultural production and food security, poverty reduction, health care development and education, the President said while receiving head delegates of African countries and international organisations to the Vietnam-Africa International Seminar in Hanoi on August 17.

He expressed his pleasure with new developments in economic cooperation and trade exchange between Vietnam and African countries over the past six years, after the first meeting to discuss cooperation between the two sides took place.

Two-way trade between the two sides rose from 600 million USD to 3 billion USD over the period. However, the figure did not reflect their potential and strength.

The President said he wants participants to the ongoing seminar to have a detailed assessment of issues, to discuss and seek practical lessons and experiences and to increase economic cooperation and trade between the partners.

Vietnam will spare no effort to develop cooperation with each African country as well as with the community of African countries, he assured.

President Triet thanked the United Nations Deputy General Secretary, Cheick Sidi Diarra, for his presence at the seminar and highly spoke of the UN’s role in facilitating and promoting cooperation between Vietnam and African countries, particularly its support of a number of social security development programmes such as poverty reduction, health care and education.

The UN official hailed Vietnam as host of the seminar and said he believes in a bright future for the bilateral ties.

He expressed his admiration at Vietnam ’s achievements in its national development renewal process, saying that the country’s lessons will be useful for African nations.

Also on the sidelines of the seminar, Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Pham Gia Khiem had bilateral meetings with UN Deputy General Secretary Cheick Sidi Diarra and the ministers of several African countries, affirming his wish to promote relations between Vietnam and African nations.

They discussed concrete measures to increase cooperation in politics, economics, trade, agriculture, education and healthcare./.