FOCAC and Sinoafrican cooperation are central to the AU Agenda 2063
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