Photo taken on Sept. 20, 2015 shows a train operating on the light rail in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The rail project was constructed by the China Railway Group in the capital of the east African country. (Xinhua/SunRuibo)
KIGALI, June 26 (Xinhua) -- As Africa looks forward to continental integration, the Chinese government announced plans to roll out major joint ventures that will enable the continent to achieve integration agenda.
Last year, the Chinese government announced that it will roll out 10 cooperation plans that will strengthen cooperation with Africa within the next three years.
The programs cover the areas of agriculture modernization, infrastructure, industrialization, financial services, trade and investment facilitation, green development, peace and security, poverty reduction and public welfare, public health and people-to-people exchanges.
China will also offer 60 billion U.S. dollars to ensure the smooth implementation of the cooperation initiatives.
Speaking to Xinhua, Claver Gatete, Rwanda minister of finance and economic planning, said that China's major economic cooperation arrangements with Africa will play a crucial role towards boosting economic integration on the continent.
"These economic initiatives and other efforts toward Africa regional integration hold the promise of boosting intra-regional trade and improving investment prospects in the continent, as well as African competitiveness," he said.
Africa trade integration has long been a strategic objective for Africa policy makers and economists, despite the continent's market remains highly fragmented.
On June 10, 2015 in Cairo, the Tripartite Free Trade Area (TFTA) was officially launched which seeks to boost economic growth in Africa.
File photo shows vehicles running along the Nairobi Eastern & Northern Bypass, constructed by China Road and Bridge Corporation in Nairobi, capital of Kenya. (Xinhua/Ding Haitao)
TFTA brings together three of Africa's major regional economic communities -- the Southern African Development Community (SADC), the East African Community (EAC), and the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA).
According to Dr. Martyn Davies, managing director for emerging markets and Africa, Deloitte Frontier Advisory South Africa, the development strategies of China towards Africa economic integration are pivotal force for promoting common development.
"With Africa having reached a point where industrialization plans are ready to take off, China's 10 major plans will help Africa realize inclusive, sustainable development that defines the structural transformation of the continent," he said.
"Barriers to trade continue to limit the growth of trade throughout all African regional groupings. China-Africa programs will create opportunities, new jobs, and brighter futures for Africans."
Since 2000, China has been extending its assistance and conducting cooperation activities with African countries through the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) framework.
The FOCAC, a collective consultation and dialogue mechanism between China and African countries, has, since its launch, seen billions of dollars from Chinese government channeled to Africa countries for economic development.