Ambassador Ma Publishes Article Titled Join Hands to Make FOCAC Thrive on Sudan Vision
On September 18th, Chinese Ambassador to Sudan Ma Xinmin publishes an signature article titled Join Hands to Make FOCAC Thrive for the China Focus Column on Sudan Vision. The full text is as follows:
At the turn of this century, the British magazine Economist of the May 13, 2000 issue used the cover headline “The Hopeless Continent” to project the gloomy future of the African continent. However, just 11 years later, the magazine changed its tun on its December 3, 2011 issue with the headline “Africa Rising”, indicating that Africa once again became the land of aspiration rich with development opportunities. Since the beginning of this century, the solidary and self-determined Africa has made impressive achievements that astound the western countries, and the contributions of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) to such achievements cannot go unnoticed.
In October 2000, China and African countries established the FOCAC which, over the past nearly 20 years, has successfully held three summits and seven ministerial conferences, leading in and stimulating the cooperation between the international community and Africa. It has turned into an effective mechanism for them to pursue pragmatic cooperation. Aimed at building an even closer China-Africa community with a shared future, the FOCAC is devoted to cooperation in economic, financial, cultural and security sectors.
The FOCAC is evolving into a political community with equality and mutual trust between China and Africa. The FOCAC has become a vital platform for collective dialogue, exchange of experience on state governance and enhanced mutual trust between China and African countries. Both sides have maintained high-level exchanges, enhanced mutual understanding and support on issues concerning each other’s core interests and major concerns, and practically defended their interests and the common interests of developing countries at large. President Xi Jinping chose Africa as the destination of his first foreign visit both after he was first elected Chinese president and after his re-election, having paid four visits to the African continent over the past six years, and over 60 African heads of state or government have come to China for visits or international conferences. Both sides have agreed to upgrade China-Africa relations into the comprehensive strategic and cooperative partnership, pledging to remain each other’s trustworthy friends and sincere partners forever and work hard alongside each other to realize the Chinese dream and the African dream.
The FOCAC remains committed to forging an economic community with win-win cooperation between China and Africa. Development is the master key to solving African issues. Both the “Ten Cooperation Plans” and the “Eight Major Initiatives” demonstrate the firm determination of China and Africa to strengthen their pragmatic cooperation in all aspects. With the focus on real demands and priorities, both sides have jointly formulated country-specific lists since the FOCAC Beijing Summit, according to which more than 880 cooperation projects in different fields will be carried out, steering China-Africa economic and trade cooperation towards comprehensive, multi-level and extensive development. By 2018, China has made direct investment totaling over $46 billion in Africa, remaining Africa’s largest trade partner for ten consecutive years. It is estimated that Chinese investment in African infrastructure contributes 2% of the GDP growth achieved by African countries. The first China-Africa Economic and Trade Expo was successfully held in June 2019, and in the same month, the African Continental Free Trade Area was officially launched and expected to create a $2.5 trillion massive market. Chinese mobile brand TECNO, deeply rooted in Africa, has been immediately becoming the most popular mobile phone brand in Africa and locally dubbed as the “king of the African smart phone market”.
The FOCAC remains committed to shaping a cultural community with mutually enriching cultural exchanges. People-to-people exchanges between China and Africa have always adhered to the principle of equal treatment, openness and inclusiveness and pursued mutual learning, serving as a model for integration and common prosperity of different civilizations. Thanks to various institutional platforms, such as “China-Africa Joint Research and Exchange Program” and “China-Africa Cultural Cooperation Partnership Program”, China-Africa cooperation projects in the sphere of science and technology, education, art, sports and youth exchange have been advanced in an orderly manner and achieved initial success. By June 2019, China has established 59 Confucius Institutes in 44 African countries, with learning Chinese gaining increasing popularity among local young people. The past 12 years saw an increasing number of African students, hitting 80,000 in 2018. Furthermore, the Beijing-based China-Africa Institute was established in April 2019 as a brand new platform for China-Africa people-to-people exchanges.
The FOCAC remains committed to building a safe China-Africa community with mutual help. As Africa’s peace and security has a bearing on the global stability and prosperity, China has been constructively promoting in handling African regional hotspot issues and always supports African people in addressing African issues in ways that are adapted to African needs. The Dialogue on the Implementation of China-Africa Peace and Security Initiative and the first Session of China-Africa Peace and Security Forum were successfully held in February in Addis Ababa and in July in Beijing respectively under the FOCAC framework. Moreover, China has also decided to establish the China-Africa peace and security cooperation fund to actively get engaged in UN peacekeeping operations in Africa and support the African Union in silencing the guns in Africa by 2020, and will continue to offer the AU free military aid. Furthermore, China and Africa will work together to push ahead the security assistance projects under the “Belt and Road” Initiative, in an effort to radically eradicate the soil breeding turbulence and terrorism.
China-Africa cooperation will benefit Africa. Just as the FOCAC logo “Joining Hands” represents unity and cooperation, the FOCAC that taps into the collective wisdom of 2.6 billion Chinese and African people for common development will undoubtedly generate higher vitality to constantly lift the China-Africa win-win cooperation to higher levels and open up a bright future for the prosperity and development of Africa, in the course of building a closer China-Africa community with a shared future.