Chinese Envoy Lists Expected Gains of FOCAC

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Consul General of China in Lagos, Chao Xiaoliang, has said the upcoming Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) Beijing Summit would deepen relationship between the continent and China.

The summit billed to hold from September 3 to 4, has as its theme, China and Africa: Toward an Even Stronger Community with a Shared Future through Win-win Cooperation.

President Muhammadu Buhari and other leaders of African countries, including Chairperson of the African Union (AU) Commission, Secretary General of the United Nations, and 27 international and African organisations will to attend the summit.

At a pre-summit press briefing, Xiaoliang listed some of the expected outcomes of the summit.

“First, the Summit will make a new call to build an even stronger community with a shared future between China and Africa. The theme of this Summit reflects the common aspirations of China and Africa to carry forward traditional friendship and demonstrates the firm determination of China and Africa to seek cooperation and development,” he said.

The envoy said the Summit would also write a new chapter for the alignment of the Belt and Road Initiative and the development of Africa.

“The Chinese side is willing to, together with the African side, better combine the construction of the Belt and Road Initiative with the implementation of the Agenda 2063 of the AU, the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, Nigeria Economic Recovery and Growth Plan and other development strategies of various African countries, and actively promote policy coordination, facilities connectivity, unimpeded trade, financial integration and people-to-people bonds between China and Africa, so as to open up new space and provide new impetus for Africa’s development and revitalisation,” he added.

He said the summit would set a new path for China-Africa cooperation towards a higher level, adding, “The outcomes of the Summit will translate both sides’ strong will of deepening practical cooperation into concrete actions, and plan the priority areas and key directions of China-Africa cooperation in the next three years and in the coming period in an all-round manner, especially in the fields that significantly impact people’s livelihood and employment in Africa and that are in line with the demand for economic transformation and upgrading of Africa’s economy.”

The summit, according to him, “will further launch a number of people-centered cooperation initiatives to encourage greater participation by the Chinese and African people, deepen affinity and mutual understanding of the Chinese and African people, and provide more abundant and sweet ‘sources of flowing water’ for the development of China-Africa relations, in a bid to advance sustainable China-Africa friendship and pass on the torch of China-Africa friendship from one generation to the next.”

He said the summit would also make a great contribution to China-Nigeria strategic partnership. According to him, with the participation of the Chinese and Nigerian presidents, FOCAC Beijing Summit will not only open a new window of opportunity for the two countries to pursue win-win cooperation but also bring strong impetus into development of China- Nigeria strategic partnership.

Disclosing the programme of activities for the summit, the envoy said: “On the morning of September 3, President Xi Jinping and some African leaders will attend and address the opening ceremony of the High-level Dialogue of China-Africa Leaders and Business Representatives and the 6th China-Africa Business Forum. On the afternoon of September 3, the opening ceremony of the FOCAC Beijing Summit will be held at the Great Hall of the People. President Xi Jinping will deliver an important keynote speech, comprehensively expounding on China’s new ideas and proposals for enhancing its relations with Africa, and announcing China’s new actions and measures for its practical cooperation with Africa.

“On September 4, an all-day roundtable meeting for Chinese and African leaders will be held. President Xi Jinping and President Cyril Ramaphosa of South Africa, the African co-chair of the Forum, will chair the morning and afternoon discussions respectively. Chinese and African leaders will exchange in-depth views on the development of China-Africa relations and international and regional issues of common concern.

“The meeting will adopt the Beijing Declaration on Building an Even Stronger Community with a Shared Future between China and Africa and the FOCAC-Beijing Action Plan (2019-2021). After the round-table meeting, President Xi Jinping, President Cyril Ramaphosa and leader of the new African co-chair of the FOCAC will jointly meet the press, and they will comprehensively announce the outcomes of the Summit. During the Summit, President Xi Jinping will also hold bilateral talks and meetings with foreign leaders present at the Summit on separate occasions.”

Noting that FOCAC was established in 2000 as a mechanism for collective dialogue and multilateral cooperation between China and Africa, Xiaoliang said since its establishment, “FOCAC has upheld the principle of extensive consultation, joint contribution and shared benefits, and become a forum featuring equality, practicality and efficiency.”

He said that over the years, achievements had been made in political, economic and people-to-people exchanges between China and Africa adding that China has established diplomatic ties with 52 African countries, while high-level exchanges have been maintained and strategic mutual trust has deepened.

The envoy said China-Africa cooperation under the framework of the Forum had achieved remarkable and obvious results, winning widespread endorsement of the African people and high appraisal from the international community.

He recalled that in 2017, trade volume between China and Africa reached $170 billion, a 200-fold increase from the volume in 1978.

“Trade volume between the two sides reached 116 billion U.S. dollars in the first seven months of 2018 – up 18.7% year on year (China exports 59.36 billion U.S. dollars, imports 56.81 billion U.S. dollars). China has maintained its position as Africa’s largest trading partner since 2010. China’s total non-financial investment in Africa in 2017 exceeded 100 billion U.S. dollars, around 100 times than that of the year 2000.

“In recent 3 years, China’s direct investment to Africa maintains around 3 billion U.S. dollars every year. About 3,200 Chinese companies have invested in Africa on projects in transportation, energy, telecommunications, industrial zones, agricultural technology centers, water supply, schools and hospitals. Up to date, China has helped trained more than 16,200 technicians in Africa, provided over 43,000 training opportunities in China and 20,000 government scholarship for African countries, the numbers are still increasing rapidly,” he said.

Xiaoliang said: “Today, the FOCAC has become a well-known brand of China-Africa cooperation, and also a banner that guides international cooperation with Africa and elevates South-South cooperation.”