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Chinese Ambassador Lin Songtian: Working Together to Promote Stronger China-Africa Win-Win Cooperation for Common Development

On 3 September, one of South African Mainstream Media, the Star published an article by H.E. Ambassador Lin Songtian titled A New Blueprint: Working Together to Promote Stronger China-Africa Win-Win Cooperation for Common Development. The full text is as follow:

On 3-4 September, the 3rd Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) Summit will be held in Beijing, where leaders of China and Africa will come together once again to sketch out a new blueprint for China-Africa friendly and mutually beneficial cooperation, injecting new vigor and fulfilling the aspiration of the Chinese and African people for a better future of China and Africa.

FOCAC is a major platform of China-Africa collective dialogue, unity and cooperation established in response to the new development needs of China-Africa relations. Over the past 18 years since its inception, FOCAC has established a set of comprehensive, practical and highly efficient mechanism, which consists of ministerial meeting, senior officials meeting, China’s Secretariat of the Follow-Up Committee, and the meeting mechanism of African ambassadors to China. FOCAC convenes the Ministerial Meeting every three years to make new plans for China-Africa friendly and mutually beneficial cooperation. The Senior Officials Meeting is held on a yearly basis to facilitate coordination and implementation. Over the years, through numerous visible and tangible cooperation outcomes, FOCAC has proved that it is not a talkshop, but forum for action. Today, FOCAC has already become a flagship that spearheads the cooperation of the international community with Africa.

Equality and mutual trust, practical results and high efficiency, and win-win cooperation are the defining features of FOCAC, as well as the common pursuit of all FOCAC members. China and all 54 African members participate in the FOCAC as equals. We jointly decide on an action plan every three years to identify priority areas, jointly oversee the implementation of the outcomes, and jointly report the results to the next meeting. To facilitate coordination and implementation, from very early on, the Chinese government has set up its own Secretariat of the Chinese Follow-up Committee on FOCAC. Following the FOCAC Johannesburg Summit in 2015, over 40 African countries have also established their respective national follow-up committees to join efforts of outcome implementation. The fruitful results that have been achieved have given a tremendous boost to Africa’s industrialization and agricultural modernization.

FOCAC is committed to supporting African countries to achieve self-sustainable development. It is our strong belief that if Africa is not independent economically, it is impossible to be independent politically. Without economic development, it is impossible to escape poverty and conflict. To achieve self-sustainable development, African countries need to breakthrough three bottlenecks, namely backward infrastructure, lack of professional and skilled personnel, and lack of capital sources. Who can help Africa resolve those problems, who is the true friend of Africa. In December 2015, during the FOCAC Johannesburg Summit, the Chinese President Xi Jinping and African leaders jointly opened up the new era of China-Africa win-win cooperation for common development. President Xi Jinping announced Ten Major Cooperative Plans with 60 billion US dollars of financial commitment to support African industrialization and agricultural modernization. These efforts have effectively supported Africa to overcome the three bottleneck issues, ushering in a new era for China-Africa win-win cooperation for common development.

The China-Africa cooperation in the new era is no longer about cutting the equal share of the “cake” for everyone. Instead, those who are ready the first will benefit the first and the most. The China-Africa mutually beneficial cooperation in the new era will no longer be restricted to development aid, but will be based on the principle of "government guidance, businesses being the major actors, market operation and win-win cooperation". We believe that, development aid can only address the issue of survival. To achieve self-sustainable development, what Africa needs the most are investment, market access, and tourists.

Over the years, FOCAC has achieved numerous visible and tangible benefits for our peoples. China-Africa trade has increased from just over 10 billion US dollars in 2000 to 170 billion in 2017. Chinese investment in Africa has soared from less than 1 billion US dollars in 2000 to the current over 100 billion. To date, China has helped finance and build for Africa 6500 km railways, 6200 km roads, 20 seaports, 20 bridges, over 80 power plants, over 200 schools and 80 plus stadiums. Since 2016, China has provided over 10,000 government scholarships to African countries per year, and has trained 200,000 person times of personnel for African countries over the past three years. These efforts have greatly boosted Africa’s capacity building, making unique and important contribution to Africa’s pursuit of self-sustainable development.

Themed "China and Africa: Toward an Even Stronger Community with a Shared Future through Win-Win Cooperation," the FOCAC Beijing Summit is expected adopt the Beijing Declaration and the Beijing Action Plan (2019-2021). The Summit will not only make comprehensive plans for China-Africa cooperation for the next three years, but also further align the Summit's theme with the Belt and Road Initiative, the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the African Union's Agenda 2063 and the development strategies of individual African countries. More efforts will be made and more measures will be taken to support African countries in capacity building, infrastructure connectivity, industry cooperation, green development, trade facilitation, public health, people-to-people exchange, peace and security, and international cooperation.

We are full of confidence that the FOCAC Beijing Summit will further strengthen Africa’s capacity for self-sustainable development, promote stronger China-Africa win-win cooperation for common development, and bring more benefits to all the peoples of Africa and China.

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