A New Chap­ter for China-africa Co­op­er­a­tion

Xi un­veiled eight ma­jor ini­tia­tives to build a closer com­mu­nity with a shared fu­ture for China and Africa.

China Pictorial (English) - - NEWS - Text by Anita Yin

On Septem­ber 3, 2018, Chi­nese Pres­i­dent Xi Jin­ping de­liv­ered a key­note speech at the open­ing cer­e­mony of the 2018 Bei­jing Sum­mit of the Fo­rum on China-africa Co­op­er­a­tion (FO­CAC). In the speech, Xi an­nounced that China would im­ple­ment eight ma­jor ini­tia­tives, in­clud­ing ex­pand­ing im­ports from Africa, for the next three years and be­yond to build a closer com­mu­nity with a shared fu­ture for China and Africa.

In­ject­ing Cer­tainty

The in­ter­na­tional com­mu­nity is fac­ing ma­jor strate­gic un­cer­tain­ties. While U.S. Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump made the “Amer­ica First” doc­trine his gov­ern­ing con­cept, great un­cer­tainty still ex­ists as to how the idea will be put into prac­tice fur­ther. Brexit talks have reached a dis­turb­ing dead­lock, leav­ing the pos­si­bil­ity that Bri­tain will walk away with no deal. Cur­ren­cies of some emerg­ing economies, Tur­key and Ar­gentina in par­tic­u­lar, have plum­meted, mak­ing prospects for their eco­nomic devel­op­ment un­clear. At the same time, China and Africa are fac­ing their own re­spec­tive un­cer­tain­ties. Against this back­drop, the 2018 FO­CAC Bei­jing Sum­mit out­lined clear plans for mid- and long-term co­op­er­a­tion strate­gies be­tween China and Africa that will in­ject cer­tainty into the cur­rent global land­scape.

“The eight ma­jor ac­tion plans in Pres­i­dent Xi’s speech are all sub­stan­tial,” opines Zhang Chun, di­rec­tor and re­search fel­low at the In­sti­tute for For­eign Pol­icy Stud­ies un­der the Shang­hai In­sti­tutes for In­ter­na­tional Stud­ies. “For ex­am­ple, help­ing Africa’s ca­pac­ity-build­ing has be­come an in­de­pen­dent part of the ac­tion plans even though we were al­ready fo­cused on it. And now China-africa in­sti­tutes will be built. I think this step is very im­por­tant for peo­ple-to-peo­ple ex­change be­tween China and Africa. Ad­di­tion­ally, China has de­cided to set up a China-africa peace and se­cu­rity fund to boost co­op­er­a­tion on se­cu­rity, peace­keep­ing, and law and or­der. I think this is a great leap of China’s a’s pro­vi­sion of global pub­lic goods, , es­pe­cially in the se­cu­rity arena.”

This FO­CAC sum­mit has also o pro­vided new ideas for trans­for­ma­tion of the in­ter­na­tional sys­tem. m. China en­deav­ors to be­come an innno­va­tion-ori­ented na­tion un­der the he frame­work of the in­ter­na­tional sysys­tem. Dur­ing this process, a key is­sue sue that needs to be pon­dered over and nd ad­dressed re­mains that of whether er the rise of a ma­jor coun­try ben­e­fits fits or harms the in­ter­na­tional com­muu­nity. Across hu­man his­tory, de­vel­opop­ing coun­tries have of­ten fallen vic­c­tim to ris­ing great pow­ers. Rel­a­tively vely re­cently, the slave trade and colo­nial nial wars of­fered grim proof. The 2018 18 FO­CAC Bei­jing Sum­mit marked an im­por­tant step for China to be­come me an in­no­va­tion-ori­ented na­tion un­der der the frame­work of the in­ter­na­tional nal sys­tem, which will en­sure de­vel­op­ping coun­tries are the great­est ben­e­fi­cia­ries of China’s rise.

Four “News”

In his re­port, Xi em­pha­sized the con­nec­tiv­ity among ac­tion plans such as the 2030 Agenda for or Sus­tain­able Devel­op­ment and the e African Union (AU) Agenda 2063, 3, the China-pro­posed Belt and Road ad Ini­tia­tive and devel­op­ment strate­gies gies of var­i­ous African coun­tries.

“We wel­comed four ‘news’ in n the ac­tion plans pro­posed by China na in Xi’s speech,” re­marks Zhang. “The The first was ‘align­ment,’ which refers to align­ing China’s Belt and Road Ini­tia­tive with the AU Agenda 2063, 63,

the UN 2030 Agenda for Sus­tain­able Devel­op­ment and the devel­op­ment pro­grams of African coun­tries. Such align­ments will greatly pro­mote a closer com­mu­nity with a shared fu­ture for China and Africa.”

“The sec­ond ‘new’ is em­pha­siz­ing sus­tain­abil­ity,” Zhang con­tin­ues. “From Xi’s speech, we saw a lot of ad­just­ments in sup­port of Africa, es­pe­cially the port­fo­lio of the cap­i­tal China will pro­vide for Africa. For ex­am­ple, we have tripled grants, in­ter­est-free loans and con­ces­sional loans to Africa com­pared to the 2015 Jo­han­nes­burg Sum­mit. They’ve in­creased from US$5 bil­lion to US$15 bil­lion, cov­er­ing sus­tain­able projects re­lated to peace and se­cu­rity, ca­pac­ity-build­ing and peo­ple-to-peo­ple ex­change.”

“The third ‘new’ is ‘qual­ity.’ Over the past 18 years, China-africa co­op­er­a­tion has ex­panded ex­po­nen­tially in quan­tity. In his speech, Xi men­tioned qual­ity a lot. We will now stop pur­su­ing co­op­er­a­tion marked by vol­ume but in­stead seek high-qual­ity co­op­er­a­tion. The fourth ‘new’ ad­dresses doubts, which some for­eign an­a­lysts have ex­pressed, about who will win more in the win­win co­op­er­a­tion be­tween China and Africa. This time, China promised to set up a US$5 bil­lion spe­cial fund for fi­nanc­ing im­ports from Africa. Clearly, China will im­port more com­modi­ties from the con­ti­nent and help African coun­tries win more.”

Ad­di­tion­ally, many of the mea­sures in the eight ini­tia­tives Xi out­lined are de­signed to help young peo­ple in Africa, which will pro­vide young Africans with more train­ing and job op­por­tu­ni­ties and open up more space for their devel­op­ment.

“This is one of the high­lights of Xi’s speech,” Zhang stresses. “Young peo­ple are im­por­tant for both sides. China has be­come an ag­ing so­ci­ety, while in Africa the sit­u­a­tion is to­tally dif­fer­ent. More than 50 per­cent of the con­ti­nent’s pop­u­la­tion com­prises youth un­der the age of 18. If we look at fu­ture trends, in the next 15 to 20 years, the African pop­u­la­tion will in­crease by 50 per­cent to 1.8 bil­lion from the cur­rent 1.2 bil­lion. If we look fur­ther, to 2050, the pop­u­la­tion in Africa will reach 2.5 bil­lion with even more young peo­ple. This growth will present both op­por­tu­ni­ties and chal­lenges. Africa cur­rently lacks var­i­ous re­sources for ed­u­ca­tion, em­ploy­ment and in­di­vid­ual devel­op­ment of its young peo­ple, so we must help African coun­tries en­dure the pop­u­la­tion boom and solve prob­lems that come along with it be­fore they can en­joy the div­i­dends of the pop­u­la­tion. We firmly be­lieve that the fu­ture is in the hands of the youth, and China- Africa co­op­er­a­tion, es­pe­cially peo­ple- to- peo­ple ex­change, needs to be based on ex­change and mu­tual un­der­stand­ing be­tween young peo­ple of both sides, which will pave the way for a bright fu­ture of co­op­er­a­tion.”

At the me­dia cen­ter of the 2018 Bei­jing Sum­mit of the Fo­rum on China-africa Co­op­er­a­tion, re­porters from home and abroad ex­pe­ri­ence tech­nol­ogy com­bin­ing their per­sonal im­ages with Bei­jing’s most fa­mous at­trac­tions. by Guo Shasha

More than 2,600 re­porters from home and abroad cover the 2018 Bei­jing Sum­mit of the Fo­rum on China-africa Co­op­er­a­tion. by Guo Shasha

May 20, 2018: Lo­cal chil­dren per­form mar­tial arts at the in­au­gu­ral cer­e­mony of the Prepara­tory Com­mit­tee of Africa-china Cul­ture and Arts Ex­change So­ci­ety in Gaborone, Botswana. VCG

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