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Africa should pursue joint strategy on engagement with China: think tank

LUSAKA, Sept. 5 (Xinhua) -- Africa should be more united and pursue a joint strategy on how to engage China better following the conclusion of the Beijing summit of Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) which has come up with action plans and a declaration on the future of the China-Africa relations, a local think-tank said on Wednesday.

China and Africa held the 2018 FOCAC summit on Monday and Tuesday in Beijing which culminated in the launching of eight major initiatives to chart the cooperation for the next three years backed by a 60 billion U.S. dollars' pledge to support the African continent.

Among the initiatives include industrial promotion, infrastructure connectivity, trade facilitation, green development, capacity building, health care, people-to-people exchange and peace and security.

Bernadette Deka, executive director of the Policy Monitoring and Research Center said the decision of the summit to link the Belt and Road Initiative with the United Nations (UN) 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the African Union's Agenda 2063 entails that African countries were positioned to negotiate the most beneficial trade and economic deals in line with their individual development paths and plans.

According to her, the people-to-people exchanges should pay special attention to the needs of young people, adding that the initiative of capacity building agreed upon at the summit should focus on coming up with innovation hubs and entrepreneur centers that should be established to promote skills development.

"Long-term sustainable China-Africa development depends on providing socio-economic opportunities for the young people from both sides and this initiative must be pursued strongly," she said.

She further said Zambia should strategically align its programs in order to benefit from the broader development commitments in view of the eight initiatives that have come out of the summit.

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