www.eastmoney.comJul. 17, 2012
By Wang Wei
Established in October 2000, the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) has substantially promoted China-Africa relations. In particular, at the Beijing Summit of the FOCAC in 2006, China and Africa jointly established a new type of strategic partnership of political equality and mutual trust, economic win-win cooperation and two-way cultural exchanges, opening a new chapter in China-Africa relationship.
This year marks the 12th anniversary of the establishment of FOCAC, and it is also an important year of development for the new type of strategic partnership between China and Africa. The Fifth FOCAC Ministerial Conference will be held from July 19th to 20th in Beijing, and it will be the first ministerial conference as FOCAC enters into its second decade. This conference will review the implementation of the follow-up actions of the Fourth Ministerial Conference, and draw a blueprint of China-Africa cooperation for the next stage. In other words, this conference is to review the past and look into the future.
With the theme of "open up bright prospects for the new type of China-Africa strategic partnership based on past achievements", China and Africa will achieve the following targets through the current Ministerial Conference: first, comprehensively review the implementation of the follow-up actions of the Fourth Ministerial Conference in 2009; second, explore ways and methods of deepening the new type of China-Africa strategic partnership, so as to promote the development of FOCAC; third, determine the key areas and main measures of bilateral cooperation in the next three years, and formulate relative action plans; fourth, exchange opinions on major international and regional issues to further protect and expand our common interests.
Currently, the development of China-Africa relations present the following features:
First, enhanced friendship. Geographical distance has never stood in the way of the friendship between Chinese and African people since ancient times. As early as the Han Dynasty in the 2nd Century B.C., China and Africa had already started to know each other. After the founding of the People's Republic of China, Africa has rendered the new China generous and crucial support on such major issues as its restoration of the legitimate seat in the United Nations, its entry into the WTO, and the bids for the Beijing Olympics Games and the Shanghai World Expo.
Second, shared opportunities. In recent years, African countries, including less developed countries, are working vigorously to promote infrastructure construction, boost agriculture and manufacturing, facilitate industrialization and regional integrity, and push for a new round of fast growth of the continent. The international community is recognizing more opportunities in Africa, which is now rising as the Future Star. Like Africa, China is also at a crucial stage of social and economic transformation. We share increasing complementarities in economic and trade structure. Therefore, China and Africa are facing unprecedented opportunities for future development.
Third, joint cooperation. In more than half a century, the China-Africa cooperation has been expanded, enhanced, and extended. At present, China has become Africa's largest trading partner.Meanwhile, exchanges and cooperation in areas such as economy, science and technology, culture, education and people-to-people exchanges are developing in an all-round way under the FOCAC framework.
Fourth, expanded consensus. China is the world's largest developing country, and Africa is the home ofthe largest numbers of developing countries. As a result, we share extensive common interests in and broad agreement on many issues, ranging from our own development to peace and development of the whole world. In recent years, we are witnessing more frequent high-level exchanges between China and Africa. We cooperate closely with each other on international and regional issues and we render each other coordination and understanding on issues concerning our core and major interests. By working together, China and Africa have been upholding and expanding the common interests of developing countries as a whole.
Fifth, common development. After its birth in 1949, the People's Republic of China has been closely following and firmly supporting Africa's endeavor for independence, peace and development. We have done our utmost to offer genuine assistance to Africa, supporting major African projects including the establishment of the African Union and the implementation of New Partnership for Africa's Development. As the world is experiencing profound and complicated changes and the impact of the international financial crisis and the European debt crisis is still crunching, people's well-being, stability and development have become the shared tasks of both Africa and China, and the potential for our cooperation will be further explored under the new circumstances.