Chinese Ambassador to Kenya H.E. Amb. Sun Baohong's Article Themed " Seize the Opportunity of Beijing Summit of FOCAC to Usher in a New Area for China-Africa Cooperation " Published on The Nation Newspaper
2018/09/03

The following article written by H.E. Amb. Sun Baohong, Chinese Ambassador to Kenya, was published on The Nation newspaper on 3rd September 2018, when the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) Beijing Summit was inaugurated.

Today, Beijing wins the world’s attention again. The 2018 Beijing Summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) will be held today and tomorrow. After three years, on the theme of “China and Africa: toward an even stronger community with a shared future through win-win cooperation,” the leaders of China and African countries are gathering together again to discuss plans for the development of China-Africa cooperation.

 

Since 2000, I have been engaged in every session of FOCAC, and witnessed the whole process of its growth from startup to today’s maturity. I still remember that 18 years ago, when it’s at the turn of the millennium and the century, at the proposal of African countries, the ministerial meeting of FOCAC was held in Beijing, ushering in a new trail of China-Africa collective dialogue for seeking common development. Over the past 18 years, the scale and influence of FOCAC, along with the cooperation between China and African countries has been continuously expanded. Under FOCAC, more and more measures have been taken to boost common development. FOCAC has become a significant platform for collective dialogue between China and African countries, and a leading mechanism for international cooperation with Africa and south-south cooperation. Over the recent five years in particular, under the support of FOCAC and with the joint efforts of China and African countries, China-Africa relations have made great progress and gained practical results, bringing tangible benefits to people of both sides.

 

China-Africa strategic mutual trust has scaled to new heights. The past five years have witnessed the unprecedentedly frequent China-Africa high-level exchanges and the continuously strengthened political guidance. Chinese President Xi Jinping and over 30 Chinese leaders have paid visit to Africa, and more than 60 African heads of state and government have visited China or attended international conferences in China. The partnership between China and African countries has been constantly enhanced. China has established strategic partnership or comprehensive cooperative partnership with 24 African countries, and the China-Africa relations have been upgraded from a new-type of China-Africa strategic partnership to comprehensive strategic cooperative partnership.

 

China-Africa pragmatic cooperation has reached a new stage. In 2017, China-Africa trade volume was 170 billion USD. China has become Africa’s first trading partner for nine consecutive years. China’s investment in Africa has exceeded 100 billion USD, more than one hundred times compared with that in 2000. Nowadays, there are over 3,200 Chinese enterprises in Africa. A batch of strategic projects have been carried out smoothly. The demonstration and cluster effects of China-Africa production capacity cooperation are becoming more and more prominent. The China-Africa cooperation has been transformed from government-oriented to market-oriented, upgraded from trade of goods to capacity cooperation, and from project contracting to investment and operation.

 

China-Africa people-to-people cooperation is taking on a new look. Cultural exchanges between China and Africa are more and more active and people-to-people bond is closer than ever. Over the past five years, more than 100 activities on cultural exchanges were carried out between China and African countries and more than 200 cultural cooperation projects were operated. Currently, China has established 54 Confucius Institutes and 27 Confucius classrooms in 41 African countries. In 2017, the number of African tourists to China was 628.3 thousand, an increase of 4.4% compared with last year. And Over one million Chinese tourists travelled to Africa.

 

The common development between China and Africa has gained new engine for progress. African countries view the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) as a new opportunity for China-Africa cooperation and show their strong desire of involvement. China -Africa cooperation on the BRI has been stably proceeded and achieved early results. Some mega projects like Addis Ababa–Djibouti Railway and Mombasa-Nairobi SGR have been completed and in operation. The Belt and Road cooperation between China and Africa has further broadened our views and brought new driving force. It has also provided more favourable conditions and stronger impetus to promote the policy coordination, connectivity of infrastructure and facilities, unimpeded trade, financial integration, and closer people-to-people bonds.

 

The coordination and cooperation between China and Africa have made new contributions. China always stands up and speaks for Africa on multilateral occasions, especially when the UN Security Council examines African issues. And African countries firmly support China on China’s core interests and major concerns such as Taiwan issue and South China Sea issue. China and Africa closely cooperate with each other on important international affairs such as climate change and the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, in order to uphold the shared interest of China and Africa as well as other developing countries and defend the international fairness and justice. China has actively and constructively participated in maintaining African peace and security and supported African countries’ effort to solve their own problems independently. Currently, around 2,000 peacekeepers from China are deployed in five peacekeeping missions in Africa. And China has sent 30 escort fleets in the waters off Somalia to safeguard more than 6,000 Chinese and foreign ships. China has actively implemented 100 million USD military aid to African Union and given strong support for the establishment of African regular army and rapid reaction force. At the same time, China has showed its strong support to the regional organizations playing their special role in solving the African hot issues.

 

The FOCAC Beijing Summit bears milestone significance for improving the China-Africa relations, achieving China-Africa mutual benefit and win-win results and common development. During the 2018 Beijing Summit of FOCAC, the Beijing Declaration on Building Stronger Community with a Shared Future between China and Africa, and FOCAC Beijing Action Plan (2019-2021) will be announced, and a series of bilateral cooperative agreements will be signed to make plans for China-Africa cooperation for the next three years and even longer period of time in an all-around way, especially in the areas concerning African countries’ livelihoods, employment, economic upgrading and transformation, so as to improve African countries’ independent development capacity building and industrialization, and promote the China-Africa cooperation to a higher level.

 

Kenya is an important participant, builder and beneficiary of FOCAC. China and Kenya have made great contributions to the implementation of the deliverables of the 2015 Johannesburg Summit of FOCAC. Over 30 economic and trade cooperation projects on industrialization, agricultural modernization and infrastructure construction have been conducted by China and Kenya. Such cooperative results as Mombasa-Nairobi and Nairobi-Naivasha SGR and China-Africa Joint Research Center have effectively boosted the economic and social progress of Kenya. China has provided 67 thousand training opportunities for Kenya. A series of projects on poverty relief, public health, cultural exchanges, peace and security cooperation have been put into practice. Kenya is one of China’s most important partners to advance the BRI and the China-Africa production capacity cooperation. Driven by the BRI and FOCAC, China-Kenya pragmatic cooperation has been playing a leading role in China-Africa cooperation.

 

During this summit, I will join H.E. President Uhuru Kenyatta and the first lady in Beijing, accompanying them to attend all the important activities. After one year, H. E. President Xi Jinping will meet again with H.E. President Uhuru Kenyatta to map out the new blueprint for the development of China-Kenya relations. They will witness the signing of the important bilateral documents such as the MOU on Belt and Road Cooperation between China and Kenya, the Agreement on China-Kenya Economic and Technology Cooperation, etc. I believe this summit will bring new opportunities and motivation for the development of China-Kenya relations. China would like to make joint efforts with Kenya to integrate development strategies of both countries, put the results of the summit into practice, with the aim to push forward the China-Kenya Comprehensive Strategic Cooperative Partnership to a new level, bring more benefits to the people of both sides, and usher in a new area for China-Africa cooperation.

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