The deliberations of the Forum for China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC)
summit yesterday in Beijing mark an historic shift for humanity, for all time. The centuries-long colonialist era, under the British imperium or under whatever other disguises it has been perpetrated—is now over and done with. This was an implicit premise of President Xi Jinping in his keynote, and in the remarks of his fellow speakers—all institutional leaders: President Cyril Ramaphosa, of South Africa, in the BRICS; President Paul Kagame of Rwanda, current chair country of the African Union (AU); Antonio Guterres, Secretary General of the United Nations; and Moussa Faki Mahamat, AU Commission Chairman. AU Commission Chairman Faki announced that the African Union will open a permanent representative office in Beijing, during his visit.
Seated on stage behind the speaker's lectern, facing outward to the thousands in the audience, were the heads of state and government of 53 African nations.
President Xi Jinping announced specific commitments and plans for joint work, and spoke in powerful images of the spirit involved. He said that China and Africa will "walk together towards prosperity." We will "think with one mind, and work with one heart."
Of special note, is that Xi also stressed that China is ready to work with others as international partners. He said that China and Africa will be setting an example, and "presenting a community of shared interest for all humanity." He underscored this metaphorically, saying, "Anyone who isolates himself on an island has no future." Also, "everyone has in himself a little bit of others."
UN Secretary General Guterres called the FOCAC meeting an "historic moment." He spoke emphatically about how the China-Africa collaboration, and the Belt and Road Initiative, are now inherently involved in the UN Agenda 2030 (the anti-poverty global objective), as well as in AU Agenda 2063 (the 50-year continental development perspective announced by the AU in 2013, and which marks the centennial of the OAU Charter in 1963).
Xi announced an eight-point action list of joint China-Africa activity, for 2019-2021 (three years is the FOCAC time cycle, since its founding in 2000). China is committed to $60 billion in funding over that period, for which Xi gave a breakdown in terms of how much will be in private investment, government grants and loans, etc.
China will launch 8 major initiatives in close collaboration with African countries
1 indudstrial promotion initiative- open china africa economic trade expo in china; will encourage chinese companies to increase investment in Africa and will build number of trade economic zones in Africa, support Africa achieving security by 2030, work with africa to formulate and implement a program of action to promote cooperation on agricultural modernisaion -impleent 50 agricultural assistance programs; provide Ibn rmb emergency food assistance- to countries affected by natural disasters , send 500 senior agricultural experts to Africa and train young researchers in agriscience and entrepreneurs in agribusiness- we will support Chinese corporations to form alliance of csr, make good use of china africa dev fund, china africa fund for industrial cooperation and special loans for development of African smes
Second china will launch an infrasstructure connectivity initiative with the afriican union – we will support chinese companies in participating in infra development with focus on enhancing cooperation on energy, transportation, info, telecommunication and cross border water resources – we will wokl with africa to undertake key connectivity projects- support africa developing single air transport market and open more direct flights between china and Africa – we will facilitat6e bond insurance by African companies and their fianancial instititions in china- following multilateral ;procedures we help African countries make better use of Asian infrastructure investment bank, new dev bank and the silk road fund
3rd china will launch a trade facilitation intitiative- we will increase imports from Africa- we support African countri9es in participating in the Shanghai International import expo – the least developed african participants will be exempt from paying exhibition stand fees- we will strengthen exchanges and cooperation and implement 50 trade facilitation programs for africa. we will hold on regular basis marketing activitiess for African and chinese brand products and support the building of the African continental free trade area an will continue to hold free trade negotiations withy interested african countries and regions -we set up relevant mechanisms to promote ecommerce with Africa
Fourth we will develop a green development initiative with 50 project sto expand capacity om climate change , ocean, desertification prevention and wildlife protection- a china africa environmental cooperation centre will be set up and more policy dialogue and joint research on environmental issues will be conducted- the china Africa green envoys program will be implemented to strengthen Africa human capacity for environmental management , pollution reduction and green development; a china africa bamboo centre will be established to help Africa make bamboo products – china will also work with Africa to raise public awareness of environmental protection
5th we will launch a capacity building initiative -china will share more of its development practices with Africa and will support cooperation with africa on economic and social planning – 10 Luban workshops to provide vocataon training for young africans -china will support opening chain africa cooperation innovation centre to promote youth innovation and entrepreneurship- a tailor made program will be developed to train 1000 high calibre africans- china will provide 50000 gov scholarships and 50000 training opportunities for seminars and workshops and will invite 2000 young africans to visit china for exchanges
6 we will launch a healthcare initiative- to upgrade 50 medical and health aid programs for Africa particularly flagship projects such as hq for africa centre of disease control and and china-africa friendship hospitals- exchange info on public health – eg prevention communicabale diseases hiv malaria - china will train more specialists for Africa and continue to send african teams that better meet african needs -medical services will be provided for patients with cataracts, heart diseases and dental problems - targeted health care services will be provided to women and children of vulnerable groups in africa’
7 we will launch people to people initiative- we will launch an institute of african studies to enhance exchanges on african civilization – china africa joint research platforms will be upgraded; 50 joint cultural, sport, tourism events will be organised – china welcomes africa participation in silk road international league of theaters, the silk road international museum allinace and the network of silk road art festivals, china Africa media cooperation network will be established – more african culture centres will be opened in china and more Chinese centres opened in Africa—qualified Africa institutes are welcome to host confucius institutes- more African countries are welcome to come destinations for chinese tour groups
8 we will launch a peace and security initiative – and fund to boost our cooperation on peace security peacekeeping and law and order- we will continue military aid to african union – we will support countries in sahel region and those gulf of aden and guinea in upholding security and combating terrorism
Dear colleagues the future of china-africa relations lies in our young people – many of the measures in the 8 initiatives I outlined are designed to help young people in Africa- these will provide young africans with more training and job opportunities and open up more space for their development -Last october I wrote back to the exchange students of the institute of south south cooperation and development - moss were from africa and I encouraged them to make the best of what they have learnt and keep working hard to promote china-africa and south-south cooperation=- I believes they have new roles to play and accomplishments to make – I am confident that the baton of China Africa friendship will be cast from one generation to the next and that china-africa working together will build an even more vibrant community with a shared future