The 14th Senior Officials Meeting of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation Takes Place in Beijing
2020/12/10

On December 10, 2020, the 14th Senior Officials Meeting of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) took place in Beijing. Two Presidents of the Chinese Follow-up Committee of FOCAC, i.e. Assistant Foreign Minister Deng Li and Vice Commerce Minister Qian Keming attended and addressed the opening ceremony and closing ceremony of the meeting, respectively. Co-hosed by Secretary General of the Chinese Follow-up Committee of FOCAC and Director-General of the Department of African Affairs of the Foreign Ministry Wu Peng, Senegalese Ambassador to China Mamadou Ndiaye (whose country is the co-chair of FOCAC), and Dean of the African Diplomatic Crops and Cameroonian Ambassador to China Martin Mpana, the meeting was attended by nearly 200 people, including envoys of FOCAC's 54 African members, and heads of competent departments of 36 member agencies of the Chinese Follow-up Committee of FOCAC. Participants listened to and considered the implementation of the outcomes of the Beijing Summit, reviewed the anti-pandemic cooperation between China and Africa, discussed current international situations and basic rules of maintaining international relations, and exchanged views on the preparations for the FOCAC meeting in 2021.

Deng Li said in his opening speech that thanks to joint efforts from both sides, important progress has been made in the follow-up actions of the Beijing Summit of FOCAC. We have seen frequent high-level interactions, fruitful practical cooperation and flourishing cultural and people-to-people exchanges between China and Africa. In the face of the sudden onslaught of COVID-19, China and Africa have come up with an effective response and convened the Extraordinary China-Africa Summit on Solidarity Against COVID-19, showing to the world China and Africa's determination to overcome the challenge together. Both sides need to make good preparations for the FOCAC meeting next year in the FOCAC spirit of extensive consultation, joint contribution, shared benefits and pioneering innovation. We need to forge strategic common understanding and stick to the goal of building a community with a shared future. We need to hold high the banner of multilateralism and continue to enhance our comprehensive strategic and cooperative partnership. We need to deepen practical cooperation and build a China-Africa community of win-win development. We may launch a new batch of cooperation projects that promote employment and improve people's lives, and tap into cooperation potential in free trade area, digital economy, poverty alleviation, connectivity of industrial and supply chains, and climate change. We need to strengthen joint epidemic response and work toward a China-Africa community of health for all. We need to enhance cooperation on epidemic response and economic reopening, and help African countries defeat the virus at an early date.

Qian Keming said in his closing speech that over the two years after the Beijing Summit, remarkable progress has been made in the implementation of the "eight initiatives" with joint efforts from both sides. The vast majority of the initiatives are under implementation. Under new circumstances, the China-Africa relations have become more important, and the convergence of cooperation between the two sides has increased. China's entering into a new stage of development and its fostering of a new development paradigm will surely provide a broader market and new opportunities for Africa. China will work with Africa to implement the outcomes of the Beijing Summit and the Extraordinary China-Africa Summit on Solidarity Against COVID-19, deeply synergize China's two centennial goals with the African Union's Agenda 2063 and the development strategies of African countries, deepen international Belt and Road cooperation, actively explore new areas of growth in emerging fields, promote Africa's development, revitalization and autonomous and sustainable development, and accelerate the transformation, upgrading as well as quality and efficiency improvement of China-Africa economic and trade cooperation.

Senegalese Ambassador to China Mamadou Ndiaye congratulated on the convening of the meeting on behalf of President Macky Sall, and spoke highly of the implementation of the outcomes of the Beijing Summit. Mamadou Ndiaye said that the successful convening of the Senior Officials Meeting despite the pandemic shows the vitality of China-Africa cooperation and innovative capacities of FOCAC's mechanism. It also shows that no matter what challenges we are facing, Africa and China can always respond rapidly and efficiently. After the COVID-19 outbreak, African countries expressed their resolute support for the Chinese people in various ways, believed in China's absolute ability to defeat the pandemic, and opposed any stigmatization associated with the pandemic against China without scientific basis. The FOCAC meeting scheduled to be held in Senegal next year will be a new starting point of Africa-China cooperation in the post-pandemic era. Africa and China need to continue to synergize the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation Beijing Action Plan (2019-2021) with the African Union's Agenda 2063, the UN's 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Belt and Road cooperation, keep the right direction for mutual benefit, win-win results and common prosperity, assist with Africa's economic and social development and transformation, set an example of South-South cooperation, and build a more just and reasonable international order.

African envoys made positive comments on the China-Africa relations, the Extraordinary China-Africa Summit on Solidarity Against COVID-19, and the achievements made over the past 20 years since the founding of FOCAC. They appreciated the relentless efforts made by China for implementing the outcomes of the Beijing Summit and the Extraordinary China-Africa Summit on Solidarity Against COVID-19, thanked for China's valuable support and assistance for Africa's pandemic response, and expected stronger impetus to Africa-China cooperation injected by China's new development paradigm. The envoys said that Africa is willing to continue close cooperation with China to overcome the effects of COVID-19, implement the outcomes of the Beijing Summit and the Extraordinary China-Africa Summit on Solidarity Against COVID-19, make good preparations for the FOCAC meeting next year, participate in the Belt and Road cooperation, enhance cooperation on public health, COVID-19 vaccine, infrastructure construction, trade and investment, industrial capacities, human resources training, poverty alleviation and peace and security, facilitate greater efforts of the international community for debt service suspension in Africa, deepen comprehensive strategic and cooperative partnership between China and Africa, and forge a stronger China-Africa community with a shared future.

Participants believed that when the world is undergoing complicated evolution, it is crucial to maintain basic rules of international relations. China and Africa should enhance cooperation and work together to safeguard the interests of developing countries together. All parties agreed to hold high the banner of multilateralism, firmly uphold the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations, carry forward the five principles of peaceful coexistence, resolutely support each other's national sovereignty, security and development interests, oppose interference in internal affairs and unilateral sanctions, increase mutual support on issues of major concern, and jointly defend international fairness and justice.

Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Senior Officials Meeting this year, originally scheduled to be held in Senegal, took place in Beijing upon agreement of all FOCAC members after consultation. African envoys to China attended the meeting on behalf of senior African officials.

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