Beijing, China – Africa and China partnership is rooted in the desire to obtain prosperous future for their respective peoples primarily through the framework of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC), said an African official at an event ahead of next year’s FOCAC summit.
In a statement delivered on his behalf at the 12th Senior Officials Meeting of FOCAC in Beijing on Friday, November 24, Nomaindiya Mfeketo, deputy minister of international relations and cooperation of South Africa, emphasized the significance of the continent’s cooperation with China.
“We acknowledge China’s efforts through the Belt and Road Initiative, which is good for the global population as captured in the 2030 agenda for sustainable development as well as Africa’s agenda 2063,” stated the message, which was read by Professor Anil Sooklal of FOCAC coordinating committee.
Since the establishment of FOCAC 17 years ago, the ties between Africa and China have witnessed huge progress with increasing influence of FOCAC and South-South cooperation, the statement said.
“FOCAC, consisting of China and 53 African member states and the commission of the AU, has become a premium multilateral forum with an impressive track record and an ambitious future. It is truly a shiny example of South-South cooperation,” it added.
South-South cooperation is the exchange of resources and policies between or amongst developing countries to achieve sustainable development.
The senior officials meeting in the Chinese capital brought together representatives of 52 African countries and regional blocs as well as 32 officials of the Chinese follow-up committee.
It reviewed progress from the 2015 Johannesburg summit and exchanged views ahead of the 2018 summit to be held in Beijing.
In the past 15 years, US$24 trillion worth of trade is recorded between Africa and China and US$2.2 trillion outbound Chinese investment on the continent.
This means, China remains Africa’s largest trading partner.
An import-export trade fair to be held in Shanghai next November is expected to “help African countries explore investment opportunities” in the world’s second largest economy, Chinese officials say.
The Co-chair of China’s follow-up committee of FOCAC who is also assistant minister of China’s ministry of foreign affairs said they have held several “very productive” meetings with their African counterparts in recent years.
Chen Xiaodong said there have been positive effects based on “mutual understanding and co-interests for all parties” since the 2015 FOCAC summit was in Johannesburg, South Africa.
He said implementations of the 10 plan projects under the FOCAC framework are progressing, adding that two-third of the pledge by the Chinese government have been put into plan in African countries.
Mr. Mfeketo’s message also added that each African country within the FOCAC framework has its unique relations with China based on “distinctive approach” but he said the Asian nation’s “unwavering approach to support Africa’s development remains unchanged”.
He called on FOCAC members to be mindful by remaining committed to the cooperation’s objectives of equal consultations, enhancing understanding, and expanding consensus, strengthening friendship, and promoting cooperation.
“We hope to make great strides in ensuring that implementation of 2015 FOCAC summit becomes a reality.”
The Chinese deputy foreign minister earlier added that 2018 would mark a “great significance for China-Africa’s relationship in a new era” while referencing Chinese President Xi Jinping’s report at the 19th Communist Party of China in October this year that reaffirms Beijing’s commitment to mutual and share benefit and win-win cooperation for all countries.
Chen said China and Africa’s dream of sustainable development are “highly compatible” but Beijing will not export its module to any country but is willing to share its approach.