By Chao Xiaoliang
The Summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) will be held in Beijing this September. Chinese government has been working hard together with African countries’ governments to ensure a success of the coming summit.
FOCAC, consisting of China and 53 African member states and the commission of the African Union, is a platform established by China and friendly African countries for collective consultation and dialogue and it is a cooperation mechanism between developing countries. Since the establishment of FOCAC in 2000, China-Africa cooperation has yielded fruitful results. It has become a successful example of South-South cooperation and has attracted world attention.
This year marks the 18th anniversary of FOCAC. The past 18 years witnessed a strengthened and more mature China Africa relationship. China and Africa have enjoyed growing mutual political trust and frequent high-level exchanges. Cooperation between China and Africa strengthened in major areas as industrialisation, agricultural modernisation, infrastructure, green development, poverty alleviation, public health, trade and investment facilitation, people-to-people and cultural exchanges, peace and security. The trade volume between China and Africa has risen from US$10.6 billion to US$170 billion from the year 2000 to 2017. China’s outward Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) stock in Africa has soared from US$500 million to more than US$41 billion in the same period of time.
The FOCAC Johannesburg Summit in 2015 was a great success. In the past 3 years, China and Africa countries worked hard together to achieve the FOCAC summit resolutions. This year, Chinese President Xi Jinping has invited all the leaders of the forum members to attend the summit in September. The summit will surely inject fresh and strong impetus into China-Africa mutually beneficial cooperation, elevate it to a new level, and push forward China-Africa comprehensive strategic partnership to a new stage.
Despite the economic achievements in recent years, China remains the largest and most populous developing country while Africa is the continent with the highest concentration of developing countries. With a combined population of more than 2.6 billion which is more than one third of the world’s population, and shared historical experiences, development tasks and aspirations, China and Africa has already formed a community with shared future.
Currently, both China and African countries including Nigeria are at the crucial stage of development and have formulated ambitious development strategies. China has drawn up a two-stage development plan for the period from 2020 to the middle of the 21st century, while Nigeria has adopted Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP) and Nigeria’s Vision (NV) 20: 2020. China and Nigeria are moving forward in the same direction. As a developing country, China understands how difficult it is for a developing country to survive and thrive in the existing global system which is far from perfection. China always stands ready to exchange development experiences and share development opportunities with African countries including Nigeria to promote inclusive development.
Five years ago, Chinese President Xi Jinping proposed the “Belt and Road”(BRI) initiative. With the win-win cooperation and inclusiveness at its core, the BRI is open to and also welcomes the participation of all countries. In history, the Eurasia is the cradle of the “Belt and Road”, while Africa is the natural extension of it. That is the reason why one of the major themes of the Beijing Summit of FOCAC is to link the “Belt and Road” with the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the AU 2063 Agenda, and development strategies of the African countries such as Nigeria’s Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP).
I’m confident that, the successful convening of FOCAC Beijing Summit will bring the comprehensive strategic cooperative partnership between China and Africa to a new level.
Chao Xiaolian is the Consul General of China in Lagos