Aidoghie Paulinus, Abuja
As the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) clocks 20, the Peoples Republic of China, has called on Nigeria and other African countries to strengthen solidarity with China in order to meet the yearnings of its people.
The Chinese State Councilor and Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr Wang Yi, made the call in Beijing, China, during a reception commemorating the 20th anniversary of the establishment of FOCAC at the St. Regis Hotel.
The event which held at the instance of the Follow-Up Committee of FOCAC, witnessed the presence of over 150 high-ranking guests, including the Nigerian Ambassador to China, Baba Ahmad Jidda and other African envoys to China, members of the Follow-Up Committee of the Forum, representatives from non governmental organisations, enterprises, academic institutions, and the media.
The Chinese Foreign Minister while delivering a keynote speech during the event, also called for the building of a stronger community with a shared future between China and African countries.
“First, we need to strengthen solidarity and build a stronger community with a shared future. At the 2018 FOCAC Beijing Summit, leaders of China and Africa agreed to build a stronger China-Africa community with a shared future.
The new international circumstances we face today further underscore the importance of this strategic decision, a decision that has become more relevant than ever. We must remain guided by the principle of sincerity, real results, amity and good faith and the principle of pursuing the greater good and shared interests. We need to firmly support each other in safeguarding national sovereignty and dignity, in independently pursuing a development path suited to national realities, and in protecting legitimate rights to development and achieve national rejuvenation together through joint efforts,” Wang said.
Wang also said China and Africa needed to tide over the current challenge together and build a China-Africa community of health for all.
He added that China will continue to work with Africa to fully deliver on the outcomes of the FOCAC Beijing Summit and the Extraordinary China-Africa Summit on Solidarity Against COVID-19, with greater focus on public health, economic reopening and improvement of livelihoods.
“I would like to reaffirm China’s firm commitment to making its vaccines a global public good. When the development of the vaccines is completed and they are available for use, China will actively consider providing them to African countries in need to help secure an early victory against the virus,” Wang added.
The Chinese Foreign Minister also took note of the need to pursue a win-win cooperation in order to build a China-Africa community of development for all.
China, he added, will continue to support Africa in enhancing infrastructure, advancing industrialization and building up capacity for independent development.
“China welcomes the development of the African Continental Free Trade Area, and will provide cash assistance and capacity-building training to its Secretariat. China and Africa need to deepen free trade cooperation and better connect industrial and supply chains so that Africa can better access the vast China market and join the international economic circulation. China is also ready to work with Africa on a framework of strategic cooperation on climate change to jointly tackle this challenge,” Wang also said.
Speaking further, Wang said there was need for China and Africa to embrace their responsibilities and work toward a community with a shared future for mankind.
“China and Africa are staunch supporters of multilateralism and important forces for world peace and development. We need to take on our historic duty to firmly safeguard the UN’s central role in international and multilateral affairs, defend basic norms governing international relations, and uphold multilateralism, fairness and justice. We must work in concert in addressing global challenges and participating in global governance. By doing so, we will bring about a more equitable and reasonable international order and an open, inclusive, clean and beautiful world that enjoys lasting peace, universal security and common prosperity,” Wang further said.
While saying that FOCAC is a valuable asset for China and Africa, Wang added that China and Africa must keep pace with the times to ensure that the Forum remained a shining example of China-Africa relations.
“The next FOCAC meeting is scheduled to be held next year in Senegal. China is ready to work with Africa to make good preparations on the arrangements and deliverables of the meeting. We hope the meeting will create greater synergy between China’s second centenary goal and the AU’s Agenda 2063, form new consensus on China-Africa solidarity, explore new cooperation areas, and bring new benefits to the Chinese and African peoples. We hope the meeting will take the China-Africa comprehensive strategic and cooperative partnership to a new height.
“Friends, we live in a new, momentous era. We are standing at the threshold of a new chapter to be added to history. No matter how the world may change and no matter what challenges may come up ahead, cooperation between China and Africa will never stop, and the efforts to build a better and stronger FOCAC will never stop. Let us join our efforts to stand up to challenges, strive for high quality in our cooperation and open up a far brighter future for China-Africa relations,” Wang stated.
On his part, the Spokesperson, Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Mr Wang Webin, appreciated the joint efforts of China and Africa over the past 20 years.
The spokesperson further said FOCAC has grown into an important platform to consolidate unity and friendship between China and Africa, promote common development and deepen people-to-people bond, as well as an effective mechanism for practical cooperation.
“It has yielded tangible fruitful results and benefited the Chinese and African people. China-Africa trade reached $208.7 billion last year, and China’s direct investment stock in Africa stood at US $49.1 billion, 20 times and 100 times more than 20 years ago respectively. China has built more than 6,000 kilometers of railways and roads respectively in Africa, developed nearly 20 ports and more than 80 large power facilities in Africa, which has brought significant changes to Africa’s economic and social development.
“China has provided about 120,000 government scholarships to African countries, established 61 Confucius Institutes and 44 Confucius classrooms in 46 African countries, and sent a total of 21,000 medical workers to 48 African countries, offering treatment to about 220 million patients.
“China-Africa cooperation has not only contributed to the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation, but also contributed to the strength of Africa through unity. This fully demonstrates that developing countries, through independent exploration, are fully capable of finding a path of rejuvenation suited to their own national conditions,” the Chinese Foreign Spokesperson said.