This year marks the 20th Anniversary of Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC). The China-Africa Cooperation Forum stands as a vital platform established by Chinese government and friendly African states for collective consultation and dialogue and as cooperation mechanism among developing countries.
China and African countries share one thing in common; they are both developing countries although China has grown at a supersonic speed over the past few years to become one of the world’s super powers.
In its rapid and stirring progress, the most populous nation and second largest economy in the world is currently transforming its economic success into improving global relations across the world with massive investments and aid to African countries to ensure the continent achieves economic progress as well.
The 2018 Beijing Summit was a great success which led African leaders and Chinese government to invest more efforts to created communities with shared future. This year is a crucial year to implement the outcomes of the 2018 FOCAC Beijing Summit.
Over 20 years, the Forum has become a vital pipe to the transformation of African continent as well as maintaining a leading position in international cooperation with Africa.
Africa’s colonization by some of the European Countries left the continent in the situation under which it was difficult for it to develop without the cooperation of big countries in economy. Colonization has deprived some natural resources of the continent leaving the peoples in the dilemma of what could be the next step. Fortunately, after some years the second largest economy in the world intervened and made a vital contribution to the growth and transformation of the continent.
Rwanda, specifically, is one the African countries whose cooperation with China has been fruitful over the years.
Ahead of this year’s celebrations of the Chinese New Year that was held in Kigali in January, the Chinese Ambassador to Rwanda reflected on China’s progress especially in relations with African countries.
Commenting on the 20th anniversary of Forum on China-Africa cooperation (FOCAC), Rao Hongwei said that there are several milestones worth celebrating as part of both countries’ friendship between the peoples of both countries.
According to the envoy, Rwanda is a land of promise and has shown enormous growth potential and actively pursuing sustainable and homegrown solutions.
Cooperation between Rwanda and China has been at high level, he noted.
He mentioned some of the events including training, complexes completed across the country, visits of Chinese experts from various fields, direct flight of the national carrier RwandAir to Guangzhou, the publication of the first -ever narrating the history of Rwanda and China, Made in Rwanda in the Chinese market through Alibaba platform among others.
He also assured that China will work hard to strengthen friendship with Rwanda to benefit the peoples.
This year’s anniversary was meant to be the right time for China and African countries to ensure sound implementation of the FOCAC Beijing Summit follow-up actions, advance Belt and Road Initiative and push forward the building of a community with a shared future for the peoples.
It was also said that steps have been taken to enhance synergy between China-Rwanda cooperation with Rwanda’s Vision 2020 and vision 2050.
Speaking on behalf of the President of the Republic of Rwanda, the Minister of Youth and Culture Rosemary Mbabazi who joined Chinese community in Rwanda to celebrate the Chinese New Year has said that Rwanda and China’s relations have been on an upward trend.
According to the Minister, more has been achieved as result of a good partnership between two countries over the years.
She noted that the Chinese President’s visit to Rwanda in 2018 had symbolized the extent at which the countries’ friendship had grown.
She also mentioned a number of agreements that had already been signed between two countries, exchanging business opportunities, scholarships for African students among others.
Rwanda, a landlocked country in Eastern Central Africa, has opened up more to the world more than ever before. The Belt and Road initiative, reaching Rwanda and beyond, is regarded as a leap forward in connecting the continent’s north, south, West and East while facilitating the integration of its economy.
African continent has been under supervision of its colonizers. Western countries came to the continent some years ago.
China’s involvement in Africa’s capacity building has been bearing real outcomes. Human capital in Africa has obviously advanced exploitation of natural resources, infrastructure development, education development, health sector development, technology advancement among other aspects.
East Africa is working with China in the development of a standard gauge railway project from Mombasa in Kenya through Uganda to Rwanda and potentially to Burundi and Democratic Republic of Congo.
The cooperation has accelerated infrastructures development which led to integration of the continent’s economy into the global one as well as enhancing political integration.
Over the years, African countries have been enjoying win-win cooperation with China in various economic and social sectors like people to people exchange, education and culture among others.
In January, Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi said that Forum on China-Africa cooperation has maintained a leading position in international cooperation with Africa.
Wang described the FOCAC as an important platform that has accelerated mutual understanding between China and African countries over the past 20 years. He was speaking from Harare in Zimbabwe.
According to Wang, the outcomes of the forum are obvious across the continent. He said that in terms of infrastructure, China has built more than 6,000 kilometers of railways and roads, respectively, as well as nearly 20 ports and over 80 large power plants that have boosted the process of industrialization in Africa and enhanced Africa’s ability for independent development.
In terms of trade and investment, the volume of trade between China and Africa exceeded 200 billion U.S Dollars in 2019 which led China to become Africa’s largest trading partner for 11years in a row. China’s stock of direct investment in Africa has increased to 110 billion U.S Dollars, and more than 3,700 Chinese enterprises have invested and established businesses in various parts of the continent, providing a strong driving force for the sustained economic growth in Africa.
On the side of people’s livelihood, China has so far assisted in the construction of more than 130 medical facilities, 45 gymnasiums and more than 170 schools. In only past five years, china has also trained over 200,000 personnel in various professions across the continent, which made an important contribution to promoting the vital interests and welfare of the African people.
Also, driven by China-Africa cooperation, other foreign countries have also paid more attention to Africa, bringing more opportunities for Africa’s development.
Furthermore, it was said that over the past 20 years, China has maintained consistency in cooperation with Africa.
Again, in health sector, china has been providing medical assistance to African countries. Over the years, a total of 21,000 Chinese doctors and nurses were deployed to support patients across the continent.
Countries across the world share the same aspirations towards peace, stability and development. Thus, in October 2000 China and Africa jointly established the Forum on China-Africa cooperation. The Forum serves as a crucial platform for exchanging experience in governance and enhancing mutual trust and cooperation between China and African countries.
The achievements under the cooperation are unlimited. This resulted in the establishment of several projects and initiative such as China’s market to Africa by increasing the number of African export to China that receive zero-tariff treatment, and establishment of trade economic cooperation zones in Africa.
No single country under the cooperation can overlook the outcomes. The results are obvious at all levels and all categories people young and old. African children have been benefiting from scholarships provided by China, businessmen and farmers also have been reaping a lot on Chinese market. For local people across the continent have been praising the development of the infrastructures to improve their welfares and health such as schools, markets, hospitals among others.
The East Asian economic giant’s role on the continent is paramount and Africans should appreciate as well as keeping mutual respect, sustaining their love with Chinese friends for win-win cooperation.
Both China and Africa are strongly encouraged by the achievements of their cooperation over 20 years. If the cooperation continues smooth as expected, both communities will be enjoying win-win cooperation. The journey is still long which requires both parties to accelerate and invest more efforts in brining the vision into the reality to benefit peoples.