From Aidoghie Paulinus, Abuja
The People’s Republic of China has called for deeper cooperation between the African continent and China.
The President of the People’s Republic of China, Xi Jinping, made the call during the opening ceremony of the eighth ministerial conference of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC).
In his speech titled: “Uphold the Tradition of Always Standing Together and Jointly Build a China-Africa Community with a Shared Future in the New Era,” Xi said the year 2021 marked the 65th anniversary of the start of diplomatic relations between China and African countries.
Xi added that over the past 65 years, China and Africa have forged unbreakable fraternity in their struggle against imperialism and colonialism, and embarked on a distinct path of cooperation in our journey toward development and revitalization.
He also said together, China and Africa have written a splendid chapter of mutual assistance amidst complex changes and set a shining example for building a new type of international relations.
“Dear friends, why do China and Africa have such a close relationship and so deep a bond of friendship? The key lies in an everlasting spirit of China-Africa friendship and cooperation forged between the two sides, which features sincere friendship and equality, win-win for mutual benefit and common development, fairness and justice, and progress with the times and openness and inclusiveness. This truly captures the relations of China and Africa working together in good and hard times over the past decades, and provides a source of strength for the continuous growth of China-Africa friendly relations,” Xi said.
Xi further recalled that year 2021 marked the 50th anniversary of the restoration of China’s lawful seat in the United Nations.
He expressed appreciation to African friends who supported China back then and assured that China will never forget the profound friendship of African countries.
Xi also said China will remain guided by the principle of sincerity, real results, amity and good faith and the principle of pursuing the greater good and shared interests.
“China will work together with African friends to promote and carry forward, the spirit of China-Africa friendship and cooperation from generation to generation,” Xi assured.
Speaking further, Xi recalled that at the 2018 FOCAC Beijing Summit, he proposed that China and Africa built an even stronger China-Africa community with a shared future, a proposal he said, was unanimously endorsed by African leaders.
He added that over the past three years and more, China and Africa have worked together to fully implement the eight major initiatives and other outcomes of the Beijing Summit, and completed a large number of priority cooperation projects.
“China-Africa trade and China’s investment in Africa have been on a steady rise. Almost all African members of FOCAC have joined the big family of Belt and Road cooperation. All these have injected strong impetus into the China-Africa comprehensive strategic and cooperative partnership,” Xi also said.
The Chinese President however proposed some areas of collaboration between China and Africa which include fighting COVID-19, deepening practical cooperation, promoting green development and upholding equity and justice.
Part of the China-Africa Cooperation Vision 2035 outlined by Xi in his speech is the poverty reduction and agricultural development program.
Xi said China will undertake 10 poverty reduction and agricultural projects for Africa and send 500 agricultural experts to Africa.
“China will set up a number of China-Africa joint centres for modern agrotechnology exchange, demonstration and training in China, encourage Chinese institutions and companies to build in Africa demonstration villages for China-Africa cooperation on agricultural development and poverty reduction, and support the Alliance of Chinese Companies in Africa for Corporate Social Responsibilities in launching the initiative of ‘100 Companies in 1,000 Villages,’” Xi disclosed.
On the issue of trade, Xi said China will open green lanes for African agricultural exports to China, speed up the inspection and quarantine procedures, and further increase the scope of products enjoying zero-tariff treatment for the least developed countries having diplomatic relations with China, in a bid to reach 300 billion US dollars in total imports from Africa in the next three years.
“China will provide 10 billion US dollars of trade finance to support African export, and build in China a pioneering zone for in-depth China-Africa trade and economic cooperation and a China-Africa industrial park for Belt and Road cooperation. China will undertake 10 connectivity projects for Africa, form an expert group on economic cooperation with the secretariat of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), and give continued support to the development of the AfCFTA,” Xi also disclosed.
Other areas include the medical and health programme, investment promotion programme, digital innovation programme, the green development programme, the capacity building programme, cultural and people-to-people exchange programme and the peace and security programme.