By Zhao Cheng, Guan Kejiang, Du Shangze, and Ji Peijuan from People’s Daily
“Together, China and Africa have embarked on a distinctive path of win-win cooperation,” said Chinese President Xi Jinping in his speech at the opening ceremony of 2018 Beijing Summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation on Monday.
He reviewed the history of China-Africa friendship in the speech, and suggested to build an even closer China-Africa community with a shared future in the new era.
When pursuing collaboration with Africa, China values sincerity, friendship and equality; pursues common interests and puts friendship first; takes a people-oriented approach in pursuing practical cooperation with efficiency; and takes an open and inclusive approach, according to Xi.
What Xi said indicated China’s firm determination to support Africa to realize long-term stability, security, development and invigoration as the latter’s close friend, partner and brother forever.
“The health and productivity of the bonds between Africa and China are self-evident. Let there be no misinterpretation on that score.” said Rwandan President Paul Kagame, who is also rotating chair of the African Union (AU), in his speech delivered at the opening ceremony of the Beijing Summit.
“Africa is not a zero-sum game and our growing ties with China do not come at anyone’s expense,” he remarked, adding that indeed, the gains were enjoyed by everyone who did business on the African continent.
To build an even closer China-Africa community with a shared future in the new era, Xi pledged that China would launch eight major initiatives in close collaboration with African countries in the next three years and beyond.
The eight major initiatives, according to him, cover industrial promotion, infrastructure connectivity, trade facilitation, green development, capacity building, health care, people-to-people exchange, and peace and security.
Under the cooperation framework, China has decided to open a China-Africa economic and trade expo in China, jointly formulate a China-Africa infrastructure cooperation plan with the AU, and undertake 50 projects for green development and ecological and environmental protection in Africa.
In addition, ten Luban Workshops will be set up in Africa to provide vocational training for young Africans.
Monica Juma, Principal Secretary in Kenya’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said that Xi’s proposal of the eight major initiatives came at the right time, since both African countries and China were facing common development tasks and depended on each other, and to enhance cooperation would be mutually beneficial.
Juma was impressed by Xi’s remarks in his speech that Africa’s development was sustainable, and capacity building should be strengthened. The eight major initiatives conformed to the demands of Africa’s development and a deepened China-Africa cooperation, she added.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, who attended the summit as special guest, noted that China and Africa witnessed enhanced ties, strengthened political mutual trust, deepened cooperation and exchanges, as well as expanded cooperation on development.
It would help Africa achieve the goals of Africa’s Agenda 2063, which was in line with the UN’s 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, he added, expressing his recognition on the cooperation.
Such cooperation could benefit not only Chinese and African people, but also the global citizens at large, he said.
The summit was convened at a time when the global situation was going through threatening changes with rising unilateralism, AU Commission chairperson Moussa Faki Mahamat said in his speech, explaining that such situation would bring severe impacts on global peace and security, and impede the formation of a more justified international order.
He believes that the summit will create two major opportunities for Africa and China. On one hand, it reiterates the importance of multilateralism, and on the other hand, it also lays a solid foundation to the building of a modern system for global governance.