The year 2018 is important for China-Africa relations as the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) will hold its summit in Beijing in early September. Each time FOCAC holds its ministerial conference or summit, concrete measures would be deliberated between China and African countries to further boost bilateral cooperation in various fields. At the FOCAC Johannesburg Summit held in December 2015, Chinese President Xi Jinping put forward 10 China-Africa cooperation plans, including industrialization, agricultural modernization, infrastructure and financial services. To ensure successful implementation of the plans, Xi also announced that China would offer $60 billion of funding support. What new measures will come out of the FOCAC Beijing Summit? ChinAfrica asked the ambassadors of some African countries in Beijing to find out their views and expectations.
South African Ambassador to China
South Africa hosted the Johannesburg Summit of FOCAC in December 2015, under the theme Africa-China Progressing Together: Win-Win Cooperation for Common Development. The summit further consolidated the partnership between Africa and China through South-South cooperation, with a special focus on industrialization and regional integration of economies in Africa. It was the first FOCAC summit on African soil that led to major breakthroughs as we stepped up our efforts to bring more meanings to Africa-China solidarity through concrete business and commercial ventures.
At the Johannesburg Summit, Chinese President Xi Jinping made concrete promises to Africa. He pledged $60 billion to ensure that we remove all these impediments that prevent Africa from developing at the pace it is supposed to develop at. China has now made a very big footprint in Africa, especially with regards to infrastructure development, agriculture, agriculture modernization in particular, and manufacturing, and almost at every corner of Africa the significance of China has been felt very positively. Some African countries have seen their roads being built, some have seen their airports or parliament buildings being constructed. These have been significant inputs by China.
South Africa will continue to actively drive Africa's regional integration efforts, including developing the continental north-south rail and road links, expanding ports and energy capacity, and [improving] skills. This directly speaks to the African Union Agenda 2063, which is at the core of South Africa's foreign policy.
The industrialization effort of African is dependent on various countries' ability to attract foreign direct investment. China is strategically positioned to cooperate with Africa to realize its dreams in this regard. Partnering with China will yield more real results if the investments can create local employment in a socially and environmentally sustainable way.
Senegalese Ambassador to China
This year marks the 18th anniversary since the foundation of FOCAC, which has now reached the age of maturity. FOCAC has strengthened relations between China and Africa at all levels. But now we must reach an even higher level. Africa is currently implementing its Agenda 2063 development program and we need China's support, especially with regard to integrating projects in areas of connectivity, energy, roads, telecommunications, railways and even airways. All of these will promote intra-African trade.
Yusuf Hassan Ibrahim
Somali Ambassador to China
FOCAC has always been a successful forum bringing Africa and China together, working and doing everything possible to serve the peoples of China and Africa. As FOCAC will be held in Beijing this year, it is a good opportunity for the leaders of China and Africa to get together and continue the progress they have achieved in the last years.
The ambitious cooperation plans coming out of the Johannesburg Summit of FOCAC in December 2015, which have been implemented in the last three years, will be an example of the success and progress that FOCAC would achieve after the forthcoming Beijing Summit.
Zimbabwean Ambassador to China
My expectations are very high because FOCAC is the premier platform for China-Africa cooperation in various fields, focusing especially on economic cooperation. In December 2015, during the FOCAC Johannesburg Summit in South Africa in 2015, President Xi Jinping announced 10 major cooperation plans between China and Africa and unveiled a budget of $60 billion.
I am very optimistic that this year's summit will see more happenings between China and Africa. For Zimbabwe, being a country that was there in the beginning [of FOCAC], we expect lots of cooperation in various areas - these could be agriculture, mining, tourism, people-to-people exchanges, cultural exchanges, media exchanges, and health and security.
Overall, I am very optimistic that this is an opportunity where the Chinese leadership represented by President Xi Jinping and the various African leaders [our leader included] will find various opportunities to discuss win-win cooperation under the present framework of what President Xi has crafted as Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era, and a community of a shared future for mankind.
[FOCAC] has boosted bilateral investment cooperation and trade relations. Just to illustrate this, when FOCAC started [in 2000], China was Zimbabwe's leading foreign direct investor. The country invested about $600 million that year and was the No.1 investment partner for a number of years afterward. China has become the second biggest trading partner for Zimbabwe and all this is because FOCAC has given the platform and the umbrella to promote trade and investment relations, so it is a positive kind of relationship for us.
Algerian Ambassador to China
Algeria has been a member of FOCAC since its creation in 2000. We actively took part in all of the meetings. On each occasion, we put forward ideas and suggestions aimed at advancing cooperation between China and Africa. And I must point out that, of course, since the creation of the forum, relations between China and Africa in all fields have developed and grown in a quite remarkable way. Needless to say, we shall continue to work within the framework of the forum with Africans and Chinese to develop relations between the two sides, to help our ideas grow, and to develop cooperation projects in Africa with technical, financial and technological support from China when needed.
China also benefits from this cooperation and exchange, so we are talking about "win-win" relations that benefit both African countries and our Chinese friends. Algeria will continue to work under this framework for the development of Africa. We are an African country and deeply committed to African unity and development, and to the development of Algeria for the prosperity and well-being of its people. Many things have been achieved already thanks to our cooperation with China, and we still have much more to achieve.