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Eyeing deeper cooperation, China and Africa prepare for FOCAC

Editor: Qian Ding 丨CCTV.com

08-31-2018 14:42 BJT

By Tom McGregor, commentator and copy editor

The winds of change are blowing in the global economy as more nations from North America and Europe have begun to look inward when framing their political and economic priorities.

Yet despite the dramatic transformation of our world in recent years, Beijing continues on with its firm commitment to the African continent.

Africa has witnessed rapid changes as well, including the eruption of civil wars and other challenges including widespread corruption and social instability, but Africans have overcome numerous difficulties to stand poised to enjoy a rise in economic and diplomatic prominence. Africa's sudden success story has been achieved in large part due to the Chinese government and companies, who believe that Africa can reap rich rewards from them in the long-term future.

Although skeptics have expressed concerns that investing and supporting deeper diplomatic ties with African countries are high-risk ventures, Beijing has ignored the naysayers and has not relented in forming a bond of friendship with the African people.

Starting in 2000, the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC), was established to encourage African governments to maintain close contacts with the Chinese government and to collaborate on many projects together.

Since its founding, 53 sovereign nations of Africa have joined in, holding strong diplomatic ties with China and the African Union (AU), as of June 2018. Zhou Yuxiao serves as China’s ambassador to FOCAC and when speaking to Xinhua, he recounted the remarkable results and benefits stemming from stronger China-Africa relations.

"FOCAC supports the principles of sincerity, practical results, affinity and good faith, along with the values of friendship, justice and shared interests," said Zhou. "China neither imposes its own will on others nor seeks its sphere of influence."

He added, "The concept of extensive consultation, joint contributions and shared benefits is upheld when China cooperates with African countries."

FOCAC has boosted the African economy as a whole with Chinese companies and investors helping to build more infrastructure, such as railroads, highways, and airports terminals, as well as upgrading shipping ports, oil & gas pipelines and fiber optics cables to integrate transportation, logistics, energy and digital communications networks for Africa's industrialization and modernization efforts.

During the 2015 FOCAC Summit in Johannesburg, South Africa, Beijing had pledged US$60-bn. in financing for Africa in conjunction with 10 cooperation plans. New infrastructure projects jointly-built in the continent could receive financing from the Silk Road Fund, Asia Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) or the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) New Development Bank (NDB).

In other words, China is "putting its money where its mouth is," which Zhou has reaffirmed.

"FOCAC is not for idle words, but a platform to unleash real actions," Zhou said. "China-Africa ties started with small steps, focus on aid, trade, debt relief, personnel training and became a platform covering industrialization, agriculture modernization, financing, green development, people-to-people exchanges and security."

Hence with much fanfare, the FOCAC Summit in Beijing is scheduled to be held on Sept. 3-4 as China welcomes African leaders, high-level government officials and senior business executives from the continent. Africa holds abundant natural resources with a young and growing population, so it seems ripe for China and the international community to embrace the new spirit in Africa that is rushing towards a brighter future on the horizon.


Nonetheless, African governments realize they can not achieve success on their own and still rely on China's assistance to jumpstart their markets.

Xinhua interviewed Admasu Nebebe, deputy minister of Ethiopia's Ministry of Finance and Economic Cooperation (MoFEC). He spoke about what help Africans urgently require from China at the moment.

"African countries need to transform their agriculture sector, engage in vigorous industrial development, invest in their infrastructure and put resources to develop their science and technology if they are to successfully develop their economies like China."

Beijing appears very willing to comply with the request, which explains the theme of this year's FOCAC Summit, "China and Africa: Toward an even stronger community with a shared future through win-win cooperation." Accordingly, China and Africa have joined together on a "shared future" and the world awaits to see positive results from strong collaboration between the Chinese and Africans, so that Africa can transform into a major engine of growth for the global economy.

(The opinions expressed here do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Panview or CCTV.com. )

Panview offers a new window of understanding the world as well as China through the views, opinions, and analysis of experts. We also welcome outside submissions, so feel free to send in your own editorials to "globalopinion@vip.cntv.cn" for consideration.

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