By Chao Xiaoliang
The Beijing Summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) was held in Beijing, China from 3 to 4 September, 2018. Chinese President Xi Jinping, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari and 49 Heads of State and Government, the Chairperson of the African Union (AU) Commission and more than 240 ministerial level officials from 53 African members of FOCAC participated in the Summit, and jointly drew the blueprint for future cooperation between China and African countries. The summit issued the Beijing Declaration – Toward an Even Stronger China-Africa Community with a Shared Future, and adopted Forum on China-Africa Cooperation Beijing Action Plan (2019-2021).
To build an even closer China-African community with a shared future in the new era, President Xi Jinping announced that China will, on the basis of the ten cooperation plans already adopted, launch eight major initiatives in close collaboration with African countries in the next three years and beyond. The eight initiatives are: Industrial promotion, infrastructure connectivity, trade facilitation, green development, capacity building, health care, people-to-people, peace and security. In these eight initiatives, many measures are designed to help African youths. For example, in capacity building initiative, China will set up 10 Luban Workshops to provide vocational training; A China-Africa innovation cooperation center aims at promoting youth innovation and entrepreneurship will be set up; A tailor made programme will be carried out to train 1000 high-caliber Africans, 50000 government scholarships, 50000 training opportunities for seminars and workshops as well as 2000 exchange opportunities for African youth will be provided. To make sure these eight initiatives are implemented, China will extend 60 billion US dollars financing to Africa in different forms which includes 15 billion US dollars grants, interest-free loans and concessional loans, China will also encourage Chinese companies to invest more than 10 billion US dollars in Africa in the coming 3 years.
China and African countries are destined to be good friends, good brothers and good partners. China-Africa relations have demonstrated unprecedented solidarity, vitality and creativity, which offers significant opportunities to both sides. This also applies to China Nigeria relations. Nigeria is China’s important strategic partner. With the joint efforts of the two sides, the two countries have gained fruitful achievements from friendly and mutually beneficial cooperation in all fields. Both China and Nigeria take on arduous task of development. The two countries have corresponding development strategy, strong economic complementarity and enormous cooperative potential. Deepening China-Nigeria friendly and mutually beneficial cooperation is in line with the fundamental and long-term interests of the two countries and their peoples. On 5 September, President Xi Jinping met with President Muhammadu Buhari in Beijing. The two Heads of State discussed numerous issues, witnessed signing of bilateral cooperation agreements and have reached broad consensus. We are confident that the FOCAC Beijing Summit and the meeting between the two Presidents will bring new opportunities for the comprehensive development of China-Nigeria strategic partnership.
The world is undergoing profound changes and the future of 2.6 billion people living in China and Africa is very much closely linked. FOCAC Beijing Summit has set a new milestone for China-Africa relations. China with Nigeria and other African countries are ready to join hands to build a China-Africa community with a shared future that features joint responsibility, win-win cooperation, happiness for all, common cultural prosperity, common security, and harmonious co-existence.
*Chao Xiaoliang is the Consul General of China in Lagos