The 2018 Beijing Summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) has just succesfully concluded early this week. During the Summit, leaders of FOCAC members gathered under the theme of “China and Africa: Toward an Even Stronger Community with a Shared Future through Win-Win Cooperation”, reviewed implementation of the outcomes of the 2015 FOCAC Johannesburg Summit and agreed on plans for future growth of China-Africa cooperation.
The China-Africa Partnership for a Shared Future
The Summit issued the Beijing Declaration Toward an Even Stronger China-Africa Community with a Shared Future, adopted the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation Beijing Action Plan, which send out a strong message that China and Africa will go hand in hand in years to come.
China is the world’s largest developing country, and Africa is a continent with the largest number of developing countries. With similar fate in the past and a common mission, China and Africa have extended sympathy to and helped each other throughout all the years. In 2000, the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation was established to answer the call of the times. Since then, it has grown strong as China-Africa cooperation continues to deepen.
As Africa’s comprehensive strategic and cooperative partner, China has always followed the principle of sincerity, real results, amity and good faith and the principle of pursuing the greater good and shared interests in cooperation with Africa. It is believed that Africa’s long-term development can only be effectively planned and pursued on the continent itself. And China always stands ready to work with other countries that care for Africa and leverage its resources and advantages to help with Africa's development.
The Beijing Summit marks a new starting point for China-Africa partnership. The two sides will enhance synergy between strategies and policies, advance cooperation under the Belt and Road Initiative, Agenda 2063 of the African Union, the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development of the United Nations, and national development strategies of African countries. The focus will be on the implementation of eight major initiatives, namely, industrial promotion, infrastructure connectivity, trade facilitation, green development, capacity building, health care, people-to-people exchange, and peace and security.
China will open a China-Africa economic and trade expo and encourage Chinese companies to increase investment in Africa. It will support Africa in achieving general food security by 2030, implement 50 agricultural assistance programs, provide RMB 1 billion of emergency humanitarian food assistance, send 500 senior agriculture experts, and train young researchers in agri-science and entrepreneurs in agri-business.
China will open more direct flights between China and Africa. It will increase imports, particularly non-resource products, from Africa. China has decided to undertake 50 projects for green development and ecological and environmental protection in Africa to expand exchanges and cooperation with Africa on climate change, ocean, desertification prevention and control, and wildlife protection.
China will set up 10 Luban Workshops in Africa to provide vocational training for young Africans, support opening of a China-Africa innovation cooperation center to promote youth innovation and entrepreneurship. China will provide Africa with 50,000 government scholarships and 50,000 training opportunities for seminars and workshops, and will invite 2,000 young Africans to visit China for exchanges.
China has decided to upgrade 50 medical and health aid programs for Africa. It will train more medical specialists for Africa and continue to send medical teams that better meet Africa’s needs. More mobile medical services will be provided to patients for the treatment of cataract, heart disease and dental defects. And targeted health care services will be provided to women and children of vulnerable groups in Africa.
To make sure the initiatives are implemented on the ground, China will extend US$60 billion of financing to Africa in the form of government assistance as well as investment and financing. In addition, for those of Africa’s least developed countries, heavily indebted and poor countries, the debt they have incurred in the form of interest-free Chinese government loans due to mature by the end of 2018 will be exempted.
China-Africa cooperation has deepened South-South cooperation and boosted efforts to improve the global governance system. As United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said, the Beijing summit "exemplifies the win-win globalization that is necessary for the future world." China and Africa will work together to deliver on the outcomes of the Beijing Summit in full and in real earnest, so that China-Africa cooperation will bring tangible benefits to the two peoples. There’s no doubt that with strong support of the over 2.6 billion Chinese and African people, China and Africa will meet the goal of building an even stronger community with a shared future.