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.
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.
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.
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