|Implementation of Follow-up Actions of the Beijing Summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation|
Thanks to the concerted efforts made by China and Africa, implementation of the follow-up actions have been in full swing and progressed smoothly since the Beijing Summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC). The new type of China-Africa strategic partnership has been steadily strengthened with good progress made in the practical cooperation between the two sides.
I. Political relations
1. High-level visits and dialogue
There have been frequent high-level exchanges between China and Africa. Dialogue and consultation of various forms have increased and political mutual trust strengthened. In 2007, Chinese President Hu Jintao, Chairman Wu Bangguo of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress, Chairman Jia Qinglin of the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference and Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing paid visits to 20 African countries in total. Three presidents, three speakers, two vice presidents, two prime ministers and nine foreign ministers from Africa came to China for visits or multilateral meetings. In 2008, Li Changchun, Member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC), and Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi each visited four African countries. Three presidents, one speaker, one vice president and one foreign minister from Africa visited China.
2. Consultation and cooperation mechanisms
China and Africa held the first China-Africa foreign ministers' political consultation on 26 September 2007 in New York, where the mechanism of regular political dialogue between foreign ministers of the two sides within the FOCAC framework was officially launched. Since the Beijing Summit, China conducted foreign ministries' political consultations with seven African countries and held the plenary session of the binational commission and foreign ministry strategic dialogue with South Africa. In addition, China held mixed economic and trade commission meetings with 11 African countries. The above-mentioned consultations and dialogues have strengthened communication and coordination between the two sides on major issues and boosted their practical cooperation.
3. Exchanges between political parties and local governments
Forty delegations of political parties from African countries visited China and the CPC sent 25 delegations or groups to visit Africa. The number of sister provinces/cities grew by 11 and has reached 85.
4. Cooperation in international affairs and major issues
China and African countries have continued to support each other in the United Nations (UN) and on other international occasions and worked together to uphold the legitimate rights and interests of the two sides and other developing countries.
African countries firmly supported China's efforts to foil the attempts of the Taiwan authorities to join the World Health Organization at the 60th and 61st World Health Assembly and to "join the UN under the name Taiwan" at the 62nd session of the UN General Assembly, and have given China valuable support on major China-related issues, such as Tibet and the Beijing Olympic Games.
China has actively called on the international community, the developed countries in particular, to do more to assist Africa's in its development and honor their pledges of assistance to Africa. During the UN Security Council deliberations on issues related to Africa, China emphasized the need to address the concerns of African countries and regional organizations and urged the Security Council to advance peace and security in Africa.
5. China's cooperation with the African Union (AU) and sub-regional organizations in Africa
China has strengthened its consultations and cooperation with the AU and sub-regional organizations in Africa. China supports the AU's leading role in resolving African issues and has provided assistance to AU peacekeeping operations in Sudan and Somalia. The foundation of the AU conference center, which China has pledged to build for Africa, was laid in May 2007. Construction will begin in the second half of 2008 and be completed in 2011. In January 2008, Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi visited the AU headquarters and Assistant Foreign Minister Zhai Jun attended the 10th AU Summit as China's special envoy. In April 2007, an ECOWAS delegation paid a visit to China, during which it had discussions with relevant Chinese government departments on enhancing cooperation. In May 2008, the first ministerial delegation of the East African Community (EAC) visited China, which marked the beginning of EAC's friendly exchanges with China.
China and Africa have deepened their cooperation in peace and security. The Chinese Government appointed a special representative on African affairs in May 2007. Since his appointment, the special representative has visited Sudan and other countries and attended international meetings on the Darfur issue on eight occasions and worked conscientiously for a proper settlement of the Darfur issue. The Chinese Government has provided humanitarian assistance to Darfur on a number of occasions and sent a multi-functional engineering unit to the region.
China is currently taking part in seven UN peacekeeping operations in Africa, contributing over 1,400 military personnel. China has launched new demining assistance programs for Africa. It hosted a training course for demining personnel from some African countries late last year and provided them with landmine removal devices.
II. Economic relations
1. Investment and cooperation between companies
China's investment in Africa has grown steadily and extended to more sectors. In 2007, direct investment made by Chinese companies in Africa totaled US$ 1 billion. The China-Africa Joint Chamber of Commerce and Industry has carried out a number of activities. It hosted the China-Africa Business Cooperation Conference in Egypt in May 2007, which was attended by more than 500 Chinese and African entrepreneurs. In April 2008, the China-Africa Business Forum was held in Tanzania. More than 300 Chinese and African delegates discussed how to strengthen cooperation between private companies of China and Africa.
To encourage and support Chinese corporate investment in Africa, the Chinese Government established the China-Africa Development Fund, which was launched in June 2007. The initial investment reached US$ 1 billion and the construction of its first project in Africa, the Shenzhen Gas-fired Combined Cycle Power Station I, in Ghana has started. The Fund is now studying the possibilities of investing in other projects in Africa.
The economic and trade cooperation zone set up by China in Zambia has taken initial shape, and major progress has been made in the construction of economic and trade cooperation zones in Mauritius and Nigeria.
China-Africa trade has continued to grow rapidly since the Summit. Two-way trade reached US$ 73.31 billion in 2007, registering a year-on-year increase of 32.2%. It has grown seven-fold since 2000, when FOCAC was established.
China has delivered on its commitment of opening market to African countries. Notes have been exchanged with 30 out of 31 least developed African countries on tariff exemption for 466 export commodities to China (under the 2008 Customs Tariff of China) and began to be implemented on 1 July 2007.
China-Africa financial cooperation continued to expand. China has made contribution to the African Development Fund and actively participated in the Multilateral Debt Relief Initiative. China has also enhanced cooperation with major regional financial institutions in Africa. The People's Bank of China and the West African Development Bank (BOAD) jointly hosted the "Chinese Economy Day" in Lomé, Togo in November 2006 and signed several cooperation agreements. The African Development Bank (ADB) held its annual board meeting in Shanghai in May 2007, which became an important event for exploring and promoting poverty reduction and development in Africa and enhancing China-Africa economic relations and trade and financial cooperation. The People's Bank of China and the ADB jointly held a seminar on rural finance and shared experiences on developing rural finance on the sidelines of the Annual Meeting of the ADB Group in Maputo, Mozambique in May 2008. African participants at the seminar recognized that China's experience would be useful for Africa.
4. Cooperation in air transport and quality supervision
Four direct commercial flights between China and Africa have been launched since the Beijing Summit, making air travel between them more convenient. China-Africa cooperation in quality supervision has been enhanced, with cooperation agreements on quality inspection of industrial products signed with Sierra Leon, Kenya, Ethiopia, Burundi and Algeria.
III. Social development
1. Development assistance and debt relief
China has continued to provide development assistance to Africa as its ability permits. It has signed new bilateral assistance agreements with 48 African countries. Thanks to the joint efforts of China and African countries, the economic and social returns of China's assistance have been increased, and input in social, cultural and public projects in Africa has been enhanced to bring tangible benefits to local people. China has signed with 20 African countries framework agreements on providing concessional loans and is implementing the provision of preferential export buyer's credit to some African countries.
China has signed protocols on debt cancellation with 32 of the 33 heavily indebted poor countries and least developed countries in Africa having diplomatic relations with China, canceling their debt to China that matured at the end of 2005.
China has decided to dispatch 100 senior agrotechnicians to 35 African countries to help their governments formulate agricultural development plans, improve seed strains, pass on applicable agricultural technologies and managerial expertise, and train local technicians. The 100 experts have already been selected and will all be dispatched to Africa before the end of 2008.
Smooth progress has been made in feasibility studies and designing for demonstration centers of agricultural technology in 14 African countries. Construction will begin in the second half of 2008 and be completed before the end of 2009.
China has further enhanced cooperation with African countries within the framework of the FAO Special Program for Food Security, and has dispatched experts to relevant African countries to provide technical guidance, help develop agricultural production and train local technicians.
3. Human resources development
To meet Africa's needs, China has, since the Beijing Summit, conducted 263 training workshops for 49 African countries and trained 6,432 African professionals in business, education, health, science and technology, culture, agriculture, customs, quality inspection, telecommunications, environmental protection and media.
Construction has begun or is soon to begin for 78 of the 100 rural schools China pledged to build for Africa. Construction for 16 of the 100 schools will begin before the end of 2008. The remaining six schools are scheduled to receive teaching equipments by the end of this year. The number of Chinese scholarships provided to African students in 2007 reached 2,683, nearly 700 more than that of the previous year. China has set up 15 Confucius Institutes or Confucius Classrooms to help with Chinese language teaching in the host countries.
Construction of 19 of the 30 hospitals China has pledged to build for African countries will begin before the end of 2008. Construction of the remaining 11 hospitals will begin before the end of 2009. China has set up one malaria prevention and treatment center in each of the four countries, namely Liberia, Chad, Burundi and Uganda, and will begin preparations for establishing such centers in 17 other African countries before the end of this year. China provided anti-malaria drugs to 33 African countries with serious malaria epidemic.
China has continued to send medical teams to Africa. Over 1,000 Chinese medical personnel are working in 40 African countries. Moreover, China has also provided generous assistance in medicine and medical equipment.
China-Africa cultural exchanges have continued to flourish. China has renewed annual plans for implementing inter-governmental bilateral cultural agreements with five African countries. Nine Chinese art troupes toured 17 African countries and one African art troupe visited China in 2007. China has launched the African Cultural Visitors Program, and has invited cultural officials of 11 African countries to visit China.
With China's decision to extend Approved Destination Status (ADS) to nine African countries at the Beijing Summit, there are 27 ADS countries in Africa. China is consulting with relevant countries on signing implementation plans and working with them on its tourism promotion in China. Some 234,400 Chinese citizens traveled to African countries on their first overseas stop in 2007, a year-on-year increase of 36.15%.
8. Youth exchange
China has sent 103 youth volunteers to Ethiopia, Zimbabwe, Seychelles, Tunisia and Mauritius to teach Chinese, conduct physical education, provide computer training and traditional Chinese medical treatment. During his visit to Africa in early 2007, President Hu Jintao invited 500 African young people to visit China within three years. The first group of 99 young people from 10 African countries paid a successful visit to China in December 2007.