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China-Africa Cooperation is Gearing Toward Common Goal

Chinese President Xi Jinping co-chaired the China-Africa Leaders’ Dialogue on August 24 in Johannesburg, South Africa, with South African President Cyril Ramaphosa, in addition to attending the 15th BRICS Summit.

During the dialogue, President Xi put forward three proposals to chart the course for China-Africa practical cooperation in the next stage and help Africa put its integration and modernization on a fast track while expressing China’s unswerving commitment to building a community of shared future with African countries.

The Chinese President also highlighted the fruitful cooperation between China and Africa, mentioning that China has helped African countries build a large amount of connectivity infrastructure, carried out extensive cooperation with the African Union and sub-regional organizations, and supported the construction of several signature pan-African projects, including the African Union Conference Centers and the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

It is true that since its inception in the 1950s, China-Africa relations have developed over time and reached a level of unprecedented strategic partnership based on win-win cooperation. Especially in the past two decades, the two sides have enjoyed a fruitful partnership that bodes well for future engagement.

In this regard, the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) and the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) have played a key role in promoting and strengthening China-Africa cooperation. Through these flagship projects, China has supported modern infrastructure projects such as railways, roads, ports, dams, industries, and digital connectivity, injecting vitality into Africa’s growth.

China’s stock of direct investment in Africa has grown steadily in recent years, reaching $49.1 billion in 2019, an increase of nearly 100 times since 2000, while creating an average of 18,562 jobs per year in Africa, with annual increases. The total bilateral trade between China and Africa in 2021 reached $254.3 billion, up 35.3 percent year on year, among which, Africa exported 105.9 billion dollars of goods to China, up 43.7 percent year on year.

Moreover, the growing Sino-Africa cooperation has yielded tangible results and contributed greatly to African countries’ efforts to reduce poverty, improve the investment environment, upgrade industrialization level, and promote economic development. Over the past two decades, Africa has been able to record robust economic growth, and according to the UN report, this growth is mainly attributed to external factors, the active support of China, and the proliferation of markets for African exports.

This all shows that despite the “debt trap” allegations and the fraud report, China remains an important catalyst for African development as it has helped African countries address their infrastructure deficit through development finance and technical assistance. China’s hands-on assistance has been able to dispel such accusations. Instead, it has gained widespread acceptance and recognition across the continent as an important factor in the economic growth of many African states, both among statesmen and ordinary citizens.

When stressing that China is committed to further strengthening China-Africa practical cooperation to build a community of shared future, Xi mentioned that China will work with Africa to enhance the synergy of the two countries’ development strategies through the BRI and the FOCAC in the light of Agenda 2063. 

China will also support the full operationalization of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), which connects 1.3 billion people in 55 countries with a combined gross domestic product of $3.4 trillion, and support Africa speak with one voice in international affairs and continuously improve its international standing, Xi said.

Moreover, as a developing country and part of the broader Global South, China will continue its strategic engagement with Africa, while proposing a blueprint to further promote China-Africa cooperation. According to President Xi, the first proposal is that China will launch the initiative to support Africa’s industrialization. It will use its resources to enhance cooperation with Africa to help the continent expand its manufacturing sector and realize industrialization and economic diversification.

Second, China will launch a plan to support Africa’s agricultural modernization through agricultural investment and agro-technology support, while pledging to increase its emergency food aid to some African countries in need. Third, China will launch a plan for China-Africa cooperation on talent development to provide continuous training for tens of thousands of African experts and professionals in many fields every year.

These new proposals by President Xi will undoubtedly provide impetus to further strengthen the blossoming practical partnership between the two sides by expanding the strategic engagement of the two sides to new horizons. Moreover, the proposals would further set the cooperation on a new course of developing partnerships in line with the changing world, inevitably helping to accelerate the realization of building a community of shared future.

Source : CGTN