Much is expected from Focac
AFRICAN countries have high expectations for the Summit of Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (Focac) due in Johannesburg on Friday and Saturday, South African officials say.
South Africa is now at an advanced stage of preparations, International Relations and Co- operation minister Maite Nkoana- Mashabane said, adding that the country expected mutual benefit from the meeting.
Nosipho Mxakato- Diseko, deputy director in the International Relations and Cooperation department, said the preparations were progressing well.
“Everything is set and negotiations on the outcomes are well advanced. We are exchanging drafts with China and other African countries,” she said.
African countries have given their inputs also.
Chinese President Xi Jinping, African leaders, and representatives of the AU and other regional organisations will all attend.
“We have high expectations. We continue to grow the AfricaChina partnership, which is mutually respectful and beneficial,” Mxakato-Diseko said.
China is Africa’s biggest trading partner and has sponsored major projects on the continent. She said Africa expected China to also help achieve its development blueprint, the African Agenda 2063.
“We also expect China to support Agenda 2063, especially the first 10-year implementation plan. We are defining the mutually beneficial areas. We can share experience on how to lift the masses of our people out of poverty,” she said.
There would also be various parallel discussions during the summit, including talks between ministers who would refer important issues to their heads of state.
There would also be discussions between academics with the aim of improving ChinaAfrica relations, she added.
Siphamandla Zondi, director of the Institute for Global Dialogue and a member of the SA Council for International Relations, added: “Focac should be an important moment for Africa because China continues to be a big economic player. Trade between Africa and China has grown.”
He suggested that Africa prioritise infrastructure development at the summit to take advantage of China-initiated multilateral financial institutions.
“It seems like an opportune moment for Africa to clearly define what it wants to get out of the Focac. What should rank supreme is infrastructure investment, given the establishment of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank by China and the Brics New Development Bank.
“These provide a lot of capital market initiatives in the area of investments,” Zondi said.
Africa’s major obstacle to economic development was its obsolete infrastructure.
The World Bank puts Africa’s infrastructure gap at an estimated $ 93 billion (R1.3 trillion).
“If Africa gets all the resources necessary to boost infrastructure, especially intraregional infrastructure or continental infrastructure from Cape to Cairo, that would have been an investment in Africa’s future,” he added. – Xinhua WHEN Robin Xu arrived in South Africa in 1994 from China, he only had one shipping container of Chinese goods to sell.
Today he is president of the China Mall group, which has three trading centres – two in Joburg and one in Durban.
He will be among the hundreds of delegates expected to attend the 2015 Forum on China- Africa Co- operation (Focac) Summit in his capacity as chairman of the ChinaSouth Africa Chamber of