Con­ti­nen­tal Unity

FOCAC and Sino­african co­op­er­a­tion are cen­tral to the AU Agenda 2063

Beijing Review - - WORLD - By Be­nard Ayieko

of en­gage­ment for many African na­tions over the last decade be­cause of its fa­vor­able agenda that res­onates with the de­vel­op­ment needs of the con­ti­nent. With es­tab­lished diplo­matic re­la­tions be­tween China and 53 African coun­tries, co­op­er­a­tion has been strength­ened through the cre­ation of sub-fora within the frame­work of FOCAC.

In ad­di­tion to min­is­te­rial con­fer­ences, FOCAC also holds sum­mits. The Third FOCAC Sum­mit, held in Bei­jing in early Septem­ber, has of­fered African coun­tries the op­por­tu­nity to in­crease co­op­er­a­tion with China to re­al­ize the as­pi­ra­tions of the Agenda 2063 in light of evolv­ing geopo­lit­i­cal dy­nam­ics around the world. The im­ple­men­ta­tion of a con­ti­nen­tal de­vel­op­ment blue­print is pe­ri­odic, with the first phase requiring 10 years and fo­cus­ing on flag­ship pro­jects that in­clude an in­te­grated high-speed rail­way net­work, an African vir­tual and e-univer­sity, African com­mod­ity strat­egy, Con­ti­nen­tal Free Trade Area, the Grand Inga Dam in the Demo­cratic Repub­lic of the Congo, con­ti­nen­tal fi­nan­cial in­sti­tu­tions and a sin­gle air trans­porta­tion net­work.

Th­ese are ar­eas in which the Chi­nese have valu­able ex­pe­ri­ences which they shared with their African coun­ter­parts at the FOCAC Bei­jing Sum­mit. With a com­bined pop­u­la­tion of 2.6 bil­lion peo­ple and a GDP of $16.28 tril­lion, China and Africa al­ready have a solid foun­da­tion in place from which to heighten their co­op­er­a­tion. The FOCAC Bei­jing Sum­mit of­fered African coun­tries an op­por­tu­nity to not only broaden the scope and ben­e­fits of Agenda 2063, but also pro­pose new mea­sures to deal with the is­sues of in­dus­tri­al­iza­tion, trade im­bal­ances, job cre­ation for the youth, food se­cu­rity, en­ergy, se­cu­rity, pub­lic health and dis­ease pre­ven­tion.

The ben­e­fits of the FOCAC Bei­jing Sum­mit to Africa can­not be de­nied, and the event was piv­otal in cat­a­pult­ing Africa into mean­ing­ful part­ner­ships through which its na­tions can grow their ex­ports not only to China, but to the other parts of the world as well. This can be achieved by tap­ping Chi­nese ex­pe­ri­ences and prac­tices in trade com­pet­i­tive­ness.

African coun­tries de­pend heav­ily on pri­mary prod­ucts for ex­ports and for­eign

Rwan­dan Pres­i­dent Paul Kagame, Chair­per­son of the African Union, signs the African Free Trade Zone agree­ment to pro­mote re­gional eco­nomic in­te­gra­tion on March 21 in Ki­gali, the Rwan­dan cap­i­tal

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