By Victoria Ojeme
The Chinese foreign ministry Friday said that China’s trade relations with Africa has hit US$208.7 billion with a Foreign Direct Investment totaling US$49.1 billion.
Wang Yi, China’s State Councilor and Minister of Foreign Affairs stated this at to mark the 20th Anniversary of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) in Beijing.
He noted that the figures represent 20-fold and 100-fold growth respectively compared with 20 years ago.
He urged that China and African countries need to strengthen solidarity and build a stronger community with a shared future.
Twenty years ago, shortly after the adoption of the United Nations Millennium Declaration, Chinese and African leaders gathered in Beijing to inaugurate FOCAC.
“Over the two decades, by acting along the prevailing trend of peace, development and cooperation, FOCAC has established itself as a pacesetter for cooperation with Africa, a champion of multilateralism, and a fine example of mutually beneficial cooperation.
“Over the past 20 years, FOCAC has come a long way in strengthening China-Africa solidarity and friendship. It has grown into a big family where all are equal members bound by brotherly ties and treat each other with respect, regardless of size or strength.
“We have carried forward the profound friendship forged in our struggles for national liberation. We have firmly supported each other on issues concerning core interests and major concerns. We have stood together in upholding the banner of multilateralism, fairness and justice. Together, we have elevated the international standing and influence of developing countries and safeguarded the overall interests of the developing world.
“Over the past 20 years, FOCAC has come a long way in boosting common development of China and Africa. In 2019, trade between China and Africa hit US$208.7 billion, and total Chinese FDI in Africa reached US$49.1 billion, grown by 20-fold and 100-fold respectively compared with 20 years ago. We have jointly formulated and implemented the ten cooperation plans (adopted at the Johannesburg Summit) and the eight major initiatives (adopted at the Beijing Summit).
“Dozens of economic and trade cooperation zones and industrial parks are up and running across Africa. China has built for Africa over 6,000 kilometers of railways and the same mileage of roads, nearly 20 ports and over 80 large-scale power plants, and more than 130 medical facilities, 45 stadiums and 170 or so schools.
“These infrastructures have made a big difference in Africa’s economic and social development. The African Union (AU) Conference Center, the Mombasa-Nairobi railway, and the Maputo-Katembe Bridge, key projects in Africa’s drive to achieve the “Century Dream”, have been dedicated one after another, and stand as monumental symbols of the shared development of China and Africa.
“Over the past 20 years, FOCAC has come a long way in enhancing the friendship between the Chinese and African peoples. Mechanisms, such as the Think Tank Forum, the People’s Forum, the Press Center and the Youth Festival, are playing a greater role as bridges of friendship. To date, China has provided some 120,000 government scholarships, and opened 61 Confucius Institutes and 44 Confucius Classrooms in 46 African countries.
“As many as 21,000 Chinese medical personnel have worked, or are working, in 48 African countries, providing treatment to around 220 million African people. When West Africa was raged by Ebola in 2014, over 1,000 Chinese health professionals defied the dangers and rushed to their help. Today, facing COVID-19, China and Africa have again come together in a joint fight.
“Last June, President Xi Jinping and African leaders convened an extraordinary summit, sending a powerful message of shared commitment to defeating the virus with solidarity. Time and again, we have supported each other through thick and thin, forging an enduring China-Africa friendship that continues to grow from strength to strength,” Wang Yi said.
According to him, the world is undergoing changes unseen in a century, and COVID-19 is accelerating the evolution of the international order.
“The new challenge calls for new responsibility, and the new situation calls for new actions. How to make sure that China-Africa relations will seize the trend of the times and scale new heights? How to build on our achievement and further upgrade and enhance China-Africa cooperation? How to enable FOCAC to meet the challenges and achieve progress in creative ways? To answer these questions, China would like to share the following propositions with our African friends.
“First, we need to strengthen solidarity and build a stronger community with a shared future.
“Second, we need to tide over the current challenge together and build a China-Africa community of health for all.
“Third, we need to pursue win-win cooperation to build a China-Africa community of development for all.
“Fourth, we need to embrace our responsibilities and work toward a community with a shared future for mankind,” he explained.
He said FOCAC is a valuable asset for China and Africa and that the parties must keep pace with the times to ensure that the Forum remains a shining example of China-Africa relations.
The next FOCAC meeting is scheduled to be held next year in Senegal.