#National News

Analysis What will the New FOCAC meeting bring to us?

Dec 7, 2021, 12:09 PM | Article By: H.E. Ambassador Ma Jianchun

From 29th to 30th November, the Eighth Ministerial Conference of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) was successfully held in Dakar.

It was attended by Foreign Ministers or representatives, and Ministers for economic and trade affairs from China and 53 African countries including The Gambia. Chinese President H.E. Xi Jinping, along with some other African heads of states, AU Commission Chairperson, and UN Secretary-General addressed the opening ceremony.

Centering on the theme “Deepening the Sino-African Partnership and Promoting Sustainable Development to Build a China-Africa Community with a Shared Future in the New Era”, the Conference reviewed the development of China-Africa relations since the 2018 FOCAC Beijing Summit, and the outcomes of China-Africa joint efforts in fighting against COVID-19 in the past two years. It evaluated the implementation of the Eight Major Initiatives of the Beijing Summit, and adopted a series of outcome documents, demonstrating the high quality and high level of China-Africa cooperation, as well as the resolve of China and Africa in pursuing common development, facing challenges together, and sharing opportunities with each other in the new era.

All-Round China-Africa Cooperation in the New Era

This year marks the 65th anniversary of the start of diplomatic relations between China and African countries. Over the past 65 years, China and Africa have forged unbreakable fraternity in the common struggle against imperialism and colonialism, and embarked on a distinct path of cooperation in the journey toward development and revitalization.

In the new era, Chinese President Xi Jinping put forward the principles of China’s Africa policy – sincerity, real results, amity and good faith, and pursuing the greater good and shared interests. Based on these principles, China-Africa cooperation has been making tremendous achievements in various fronts.

Over the past few years, China-Africa political mutual trust has been constantly deepened, with high level exchanges carried out and increasingly diversified dialogue, consultation and cooperation mechanisms put in place. China has been promoting cooperation with Africa in social fields such as poverty reduction, health, education, science and technology, environmental protection, climate change and exchanges among youth and women. China-Africa cooperation has also been strengthened in such fields as people-to-people communication, cultural exchanges, and peace and security.

A highlight of China-Africa cooperation in the new era is our rapidly expanding economic cooperation. For instance, since the founding of FOCAC, Chinese companies have utilized various funds to help African countries build and upgrade more than 10,000 kilometers of railways, nearly 100,000 kilometers of highways, nearly 1,000 bridges and 100 ports, and 66,000 kilometers of power transmission and distribution lines. From 2000 to 2020, China helped African countries build more than 80 large-scale power facilities, and funded over 130 medical facilities, 45 sports venues and over 170 schools. Until today, China has been Africa’s largest trading partner for the 12 years. Moreover, China has been sharing agricultural development experience and technology with Africa, helping advance the process of Africa’s industrialization and economic diversification, assisting African countries in eliminating digital divide, and so forth. All these actions add up to the progress of the close China-Africa relationship and deep China-Africa bond of friendship.

Strive for Even Greater China-Africa Cooperation Achievements

At his keynote speech at the Eighth Ministerial Conference of the FOCAC, President Xi Jinping pointed out that, the key to the fraternal China-Africa relations lies in an everlasting spirit of China-Africa friendship and cooperation forged between the two sides, which features sincere friendship nd quality, win-winformutualbenefitandcommon development,fairness nd ustice, and rogress with the times and openness and inclusiveness. President Xi also said that China would work together with African friends to promote and carry forward the spirit of China-Africa friendship and cooperation from generation to generation.

Standing at the historic starting point of building a China-Africa community with a shared future in the new era, President Xi made four proposals, namely, fighting COVID-19 with solidarity, deepening practical cooperation, promoting green development, and upholding equity and justice.

For the next three years of China-Africa cooperation, President Xi announced nine programs, covering a wide range of areas, including health, poverty reduction, agriculture, trade promotion, and so on. There are abundant highlights in these programs which will be implemented in the next three years. For example, to help the AU achieve its goal of vaccinating 60 percent of the African population by 2022, China will provide another one billion doses of COVID-19 vaccines to Africa. China will undertake 10 poverty reduction and agricultural projects for Africa, and send 500 agricultural experts to Africa. China will encourage its businesses to invest no less than 10 billion US dollars in Africa in the next three years, and will establish a platform for China-Africa private investment promotion. China will undertake 10 digital economy projects for Africa, 10 green development, environmental protection and climate action projects for Africa, 10 peace and security projects for Africa, and so on.

Bright Prospects of China-Gambia Cooperation in the New Era

The Gambia is a member of the FOCAC family, and China attaches great importance to the China-Gambia relations. Under the FOCAC framework, the China-Gambia cooperation in various fields have yielded remarkable achievements in the past few years, making contribution to The Gambia’s national development and promoting Gambian people’s livelihood.

Be it the Sir Dawda Kairaba Jawara International Conference Center, or the URR Roads and Bridges, the China-Gambia infrastructure cooperation projects completed in the past few years not only helped boost local economy, but also helped The Gambia further engage with West African sub-region and beyond. Chinese doctors and health experts provided assistance to strengthen The Gambia’s capacity in protecting public health. Agricultural experts from China shared expertise with their Gambian counterparts and local farmers, and made joint contribution to The Gambia’s aspiration for achieving food self-sufficiency. 

More recently, Hon. Foreign Minister Dr. Mamadou Tangara and me signed a new bilateral economic and technological cooperation agreement, in accordance with which the Chinese government will provide the Gambian government with grant aid of 150 million RMB (equivalent to 1.2 billion dalasis) for implementing new projects jointly decided by China and The Gambia through consultation. Just a few days ago, China donated 200,000 doses of Sinopharm COVID-19 vaccines to The Gambia. This is yet another move by China to support The Gambia in its fight against the pandemic, and make the vaccines a global public good.

On 1st December, I met with Hon. Mamadou Tangara, who just attended the FOCAC Ministerial Meeting and returned to Banjul from Dakar. Hon. Tangara spoke highly of the Conference, and hailed the fraternal Africa-China relations and fruitful cooperation. He said that The Gambia would work with China and other African countries to implement the outcomes of the Conference, so as to better serve the people of Africa and China.

With joint cultivation by China and Africa, the FOCAC has experienced extraordinary 20 years as of today, and it now stands at a new historic starting point. I am more than confident that, with continuous and concerted efforts from China and Africa, the FOCAC will step into another golden 20 years, and we will make even greater success in our joint building of a China-Africa community with a shared future in the new era!

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