|Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC)|
In the 21st century, to maintain peace, seekstability and promote development has become a shared aspiration of people around the world. Sincethe FOCAC Beijing Ministerial Conference inOctober 2000, four ministerial conferences and one summit meeting of the FOCAC have been convened. As an important platform for collective dialogue and an effective mechanism for practical cooperation between China and African countries,FOCAC has greatly boosted the political influence of China-Africa relationship and served as an important driver for China-Africa practical cooperationin various areas.
Over the past 12 years, FOCAC has instituted a number ofmeeting and dialogue mechanisms at various levels and in different forms, including the Ministerial Conference, political consultations between Chinese and African foreign ministers on the sidelines of UN General Assembly, Senior Officials Meeting (SOMs), and the consultation between the Secretariat of the Chinese Follow-up Committee and the African Diplomatic Corps in China. Within the framework of FOCAC, the China-Africa Business Conference, China-Africa People's Forum and Forums on agriculture, science and technology, finance, culture, think tanks, law, youth and women have been held on a regular or ad hoc basis.
To coordinateand strengthen itscooperation with Africa under the FOCAC framework, the Chinese side has set up a Follow-up Committee, which consistsof27 members including departments under the CPC Central Committee, government agencies, civil organizations and financial institutions.
3. Ministerial Conferences(First to Third)and the Beijing Summit
1) The First Ministerial Conference(October 2000, Beijing, China)
Purposes:Conducting equal-footed consultation, deepening understanding, broadening consensus, strengthening friendship and promoting cooperation
Participation: more than 80 ministers from China and 44 African countries, representatives of 17 international and regionalorganizations,and business leaders fromChina and Africa
Outcomes: The Conference adopted the Beijing Declarationand the Program for China-Africa Cooperation in Economic and Social Development; and proposed to establish a new type of China-Africa partnership featuring long-term stability, equality and mutual benefit. The success of the First Ministerial Conference marked the inauguration of FOCAC and created a new platform for China-Africa dialogue and cooperation.
Implementation of practical measures:China cancelled RMB10.9 billion of debts for 31 Africancountries,set up an African Human Resources Development Fund, trained nearly 7,000 African professionals, and provided special funds to support and encourage investment by Chinese enterprises in African countries.
2) The Second Ministerial Conference (December 2003, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia)
Theme: carrying out practical cooperation and taking specific actions
Participation: 70 foreign and economic ministers from China and 44 African countries, and representatives of international and regional organizations
Outcomes: The Conference adopted the Addis Ababa Action Plan (2004-2006), and proposed to establish a new type of partnership between China and Africa featuring long-term stability, equality, mutual benefit and comprehensive cooperation. Emphasizing practical and comprehensive cooperation, the Conference further promoted the sound development of China-Africa relations.
Implementation of practical measures: The Chinesegovernment signed 382 assistance agreements with African countries, trained 12,600 Africanprofessionals, provided zero-tariff treatment to exports from 28 least developed countries in Africaunder 190 tariff items, and gave 17 African countriesthe Approved Destination Statusfor Chinese tourists. The "Meet in Beijing" International Arts Festival,the "Voyage of Chinese Culture toAfrica" and two China-Africa Youth Festivals were held successfully.
3)The Third Ministerial Conference(November 2006, Beijing, China)
Background:The year 2006 marked the 50th anniversary of the inauguration of diplomatic relations between the People's Republic of China and African countries. To celebrate the occasion, the two sides jointly initiated the Beijing Summit and the Third Ministerial Conference of FOCAC.
Participation: foreign or economic ministers and representatives from China and 48African countries
Outcomes:The Conference reviewed the implementation of the follow-up actions of the Second Ministerial Conference and completed preparations for the Beijing Summit.
4) The Beijing Summit (November 2006, Beijing, China)
Theme: friendship, peace, cooperation and development
Participation: President Hu Jintao of China and the heads of state orgovernmentor seniorrepresentatives of 48 African countries
Outcomes: The Summit adopted the Declaration of the Beijing Summit and Beijing Action Plan (2007-2009), and decided to establisha new type of strategic partnership between China and Africa featuring political equality and mutual trust, economic win-win cooperation and cultural exchanges. China announced eight policy measures to strengthen cooperation with Africa and support its development. The Beijing Summit elevated China-Africa relations to an unprcedented level and laid a solid political foundation for the all-around, sustainable development of China-Africa relations.
Implementation of pratical measures:
●By the end of 2009, China had doubled its assistance to Africa on the 2006basis
●China provided African countries with US$3 billion in concessional loans and US$2 billion in preferential export buyer's credit
●The China-Africa Development Fundwas established, which invested more than US$500 million in 27 projects
●China cancelled 154 debts owed by 33 African countries, increased to 478 the number of export items to China enjoyingzero-tariff treatment from the least developed countries in Africa, and started the construction ofsix economic and trade cooperation zones in African countries.
●China trained 15,000 personnelfor African countries,built 96 schools,increased the number of Chinese government scholarships for African students to 4,000, sent 104 senior agrotechnologyexperts to Africa,started the construction of 10 agrotechnology demonstration center, built 28 new hospital,opened 30 malaria prevention and treatment centers, and sent 1,200 medical workersand 300 Chinese youth volunteers to work in Africa.
4.The Fourth Ministerial Conference(November 2009, Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt)
1) Theme: deepening the new type of China-Africa strategic partnership for sustainable development
2) Participation: foreign or economicministers and representatives from China and 49 African countries
3) Outcomes: The Conference adopted the Declaration of Sharm El Sheikh and the Sharm El Sheikh Action Plan (2010-2012). Chinaannounced eight new measures to advanceChina-Africa cooperation.
4) Implementation of follow-up actions
Since the Fourth Ministerial Conference, China and African conntries has worked together to implement the the eight new measuresand other follow-up actions. As a result, new progress has been made in China-Africa exchanges and cooperation in political, economic, trade, development, cultural and other fields as well as in FOCAC institution-building and the new type of strategic partnership between China and Africa has been taken to a new level.
●China provided Africa countries with over US$10 billion in concessional loans and the China Development Bank, through its special loan for African SMEs committed US$966 million for 38 Africa SME projects.
●China cancelled debts owed by heavily indebted poor countries and the least developed countries in Africa having diplomatic relations with China due the end of 2009. All the least developed countries in Africa having diplomatic ties with China enjoy zero-tariff treatment for 60% of their exports to China.
●China implemented 105 clean energy projects in Africa, built five new agrotechnology demonstration centers, sent 50 agrotechnology teams to African countries, provided medical equipment, materials and medicines to 30 hospitals and 30 malaria prevention and treatment centers,built 19 new schools and provided supplies to 42 schools in Africa.
●China trained 24,000 professionals for Africa, including 1,500 headmasters and teachers, 3,000 agricultural experts and 3, medical workers, and offered 5,710 and 6,316 government scholarships in 2010 and 2011 respectively
●By the end of 2011, under the China-Africa Science and Technology Partnership Program, China had implemented 88 China-Africa joint research and demonstration projects and hosted 42 African research personnel for post-doctoral studies in China
●The China-Africa Joint Research and Exchange Program supported 14 international seminars in China and Africa, and sponsored 500 Chinese and African scholars for academic exchanges and visits. Under the framework of the Program, Chinese and African academic institutions carried out 28 projects