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FOCAC and China-Africa Relations

   

FOCAC and China-Africa Relations

 

Since its establishment in October 2000, the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) has been gradually institutionalized and become an important platform for collective dialogue and an effective mechanism for enhancing practical cooperation between China and African countries. It also set a successful example of South-South cooperation.

The Ministerial Conference, which is held once every three years, is a vital part of FOCAC.

The First Ministerial Conference of FOCAC was held in Beijing in October 2000. Following the First Ministerial Conference, China cancelled RMB 10.9 billion of debts for 31 heavily indebted poor countries or least developed countries in Africa; set up the African Human Resources Development Fund, sponsored nearly 300 training courses and trained nearly 7,000 African professionals in diplomacy, economic management, national defense, agriculture, education, science and technology, culture and health.

The Second Ministerial Conference of FOCAC was convened in December 2003 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Following the Second Ministerial Conference, China signed 382 new agreements on financial assistance with African countries, trained 12,600 professionals for African countries, provided zero-tariff treatment to exports under 190 tariff items from 28 least developed countries in Africa; gave 17 African countries Approved Destination Status. The "Meet in Beijing" International Arts Festival and the "Voyage of Chinese Culture in Africa" were held successfully, and two China-Africa Youth Festivals were held in Beijing in 2004 and 2006 respectively.

The Beijing Summit of the FOCAC was convened in November 2006 as the third Ministerial Conference of FOCAC. Chinese President Hu Jintao and the heads of state and government and high-ranking representatives of 48 African countries attended the Summit. Beijing Summit proclaimed the establishment of a new type of strategic partnership between China and Africa featuring "political equality and mutual trust, economic win-win cooperation and cultural exchanges". President Hu Jintao announced at the Opening Ceremony of the Summit that the Chinese government would take eight policy measures to strengthen cooperation with Africa and support its development. Besides these measures, which have been implemented by the end of 2009, China opened 23 Confucius Institutes and Confucius Classrooms in cooperation with 16 countries; sent 1,200 medical workers to 42 African countries, and provided medical devices worth RMB 50 million; successfully held "African Culture in Focus 2008" in China and "Chinese Culture in Focus 2009" in Africa; established training and exchange centers for women in 5 countries, and delivered 28 batches of material assistance to women organizations of 14 African countries; invited 500 African young people to visit China and held the third China-Africa Youth Festival; established 98 sister provinces/states or twin cities between China and Africa; and added 9 countries to the list of ADS (Approved Destination Status).

The Fourth Ministerial Conference of FOCAC was held in November 2009 in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt, during which Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao announced eight new policy measures on China-Africa cooperation. Following the Fourth Ministerial Conference, China actively carried out the follow-up actions of the Conference: initiated China-Africa Science and Technology Partnership Plan and China-Africa Joint Research and Exchange Plan; signed framework agreements on concessional loans with some African countries, and signed exchange of letters with majority of the least developed countries in Africa on increasing the tariff items under which exports receiving zero-tariff treatment; started work concerning debt cancellation and special loans for small and medium-sized enterprises; signed exchange of letters and agreements with some African countries on sending agricultural technology teams, providing medical equipments and anti-malaria medicines; started construction of agricultural technology demonstration centers and 50 China-Africa friendship schools, 100 clean energy projects and small-sized well digging projects for water supply etc.; and made smooth progress in providing human resources training for Africa. In addition, China kicked off "African Culture in Focus 2010" activities; officially launched the 20+20 Cooperation Plan for Chinese and African Institutions of Higher Education and held China-Africa Modern Agriculture Cooperation Forum in Beijing. The first and second FOCAC Legal Forum were successfully held in Cairo and Beijing respectively.

The fifth Ministerial Conference will be held in July this year in Beijing. It will make a comprehensive plan for China-Africa cooperation in the next three years and help upgrade China-Africa relationship, enrich China-Africa cooperation and achieve a win-win situation both actively and efficiently. Picking up the momentum of the fifth Ministerial Conference of FOCAC, China, together with all friendly African countries will constantly reinforce the China-African Friendly Cooperation.

 

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