During the past five decades, China and Africa have forged close unity, and friendship, with a noticeable increase and strengthening of the Sino – Africa cooperation. Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) indicating a 40% surge in 2021.
The Forum on China–Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) was jointly set up by China and Africa in October 2000. A major initiative taken to promote traditional China–Africa friendship and cooperation. The forum serves as an important platform and effective mechanism for conducting collective dialogue, exchanging experience in governance and enhancing mutual trust and cooperation in practical terms between China and Africa. Guided and united by FOCAC, Africa and China have become both close and steady partners on solidarity against COVID-19 pandemic and on political consonance.
With the theme of “DEEPENING CHINA-AFRICA PARTNERSHIP AND ROMOTE SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT TO BUILD A CHINA – AFRICA COMMUNITY WITH A SHARED FUTURE IN THE NEW ERA” – “China is ready to work with Africa to consolidate political mutual trust, strengthen mutual support, jointly safeguard the legitimate rights and interests of developing countries, and make positive contributions to the building of the China-Africa community with a shared future” – Xi Jinping said, during his keynote speech at the opening ceremony of the 8th Ministerial Conference of the Forum on China- Africa Cooperation (FOCAC)
The FOCAC ministerial conference in Dakar, echoes a nine-point program, aligned to the theme under a three-year period as discussed at the forum:
1. The Medical and Health Program
The billion COVID vaccine doses to be delivered to Africa will come in the form of 600m doses as donation and 400m doses to be provided through joint production by Chinese companies and African countries.
2. The Poverty Reduction and Agricultural Development Program
Measures will include China undertaking 10 poverty reduction and agricultural projects for Africa, and sending 500 agricultural experts to the continent.
3. The Trade Promotion Program
China will aim to reach $300bn in total imports from Africa in the next three years. Measures will include opening “green lanes” for African agricultural exports to China, speeding up inspection and quarantine procedures, and further increasing the scope of products enjoying zero-tariff treatment for the least developed countries (LDCs) that have diplomatic relations with China (which means all African countries apart from Eswatini).
4. The Investment Promotion Program
China will encourage its businesses to invest at least $10bn in Africa in the next three years, and will establish a platform for China-Africa private investment promotion.
5. The Digital Innovation Program
China will undertake 10 digital economy projects for Africa, set up centres for China-Africa cooperation on satellite remote-sensing, and support the development of joint laboratories, partner institutes, and scientific and technological innovation cooperation bases. Online shopping festivals promoting African products and a campaign to market 100 African stores and 1,000 African products on e-commerce platforms are promised.
6. The Green Development Program
China will undertake 10 green development, environmental protection and climate action projects for Africa, support the development of the “Great Green Wall”, and build centres of excellence on low-carbon development and climate change adaptation in Africa.
7. The Capacity Building Program
Projects will include the building or upgrading of 10 schools in Africa, invite 10,000 high-level Africans to training programs and promote vocational training.
8. The cultural and people-to-people exchange program
Chinese tourism in African countries will be promoted and facilitated.
9. The peace and security program
President Xi said that China will undertake 10 peace and security projects for Africa. It will continue to deliver military assistance to the AU, support African countries’ efforts to independently maintain regional security and fight terrorism, and conduct joint peace-keeping exercises.
FOCAC plays a central role in coordinating the policy agenda for the next three years – the “Dakar Action Plan (2022-2024)”. It is also expected to see the publication of the 2035 vision of China-Africa cooperation and the Sino-African declaration on cooperation on climate change.