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China-Africa cooperation upgraded

Updated: Dec 27, 2021 By Chen Zhaoyuan China Daily Print
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LI MIN/CHINA DAILY

The Forum on China-Africa Cooperation has transformed into a comprehensive strategic and cooperation platform for China and African countries.

The Eighth Ministerial Conference of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation held in Dakar, Senegal, recently injected new impetus into Sino-African ties and deepened cooperation between the two sides. It also showed China and Africa want to realize their common goal of shared prosperity.

The eighth FOCAC conference accorded priority to health, security, modernization of agriculture, technical and vocational training, and infrastructure development, which are preconditions for sustainable development.

Given the present global economic sluggishness and uncertainties caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, both sides are expected to adopt pragmatic methods to boost Africa's struggling economies and promote development in the region.

From January to October, China-Africa trade and China's direct investment in Africa reached $207.1 billion and $2.6 billion, an increase of 37.5 percent and 10 percent year-on-year respectively, which demonstrate the resilience and potential of Sino-African partnership.

China has been Africa's largest trade partner for many years, and despite the pandemic, China has continued to invest in African countries' service sector, with the investments in scientific research, technology services, transport, warehousing and postal services doubling in 2020.

China-Africa cooperation is expected to become a model for international cooperation, with both sides determined to take their mutually beneficial partnership to a higher level. In fact, the two sides have moved forward hand in hand, pragmatically and effectively, as evidenced by the rising two-way trade, investment and action plans.

China-Africa relations have entered a new development era with increasing mutual trust, win-win collaboration, mutually enriching cultural exchanges, joint health projects, public safety and security programs, coordinated economic cooperation and partnership, and political commitment.

The diverse and increasing sectors involved in China-Africa cooperation indicate the important role Chinese companies and government agencies have played in boosting trade and investment between the two sides.

Besides, development issues are given priority at Sino-African discussions, and China has been making more efforts to deepen South-South cooperation by increasing trade with, and investments in, developing countries.

Chinese cooperation is based on infrastructure, assistance on demand and the search for mutual benefit. As a strategic long-term partnership, the China-Africa relationship promotes sustainable development, combining commerce and investment.

Strengthening the development capability and healthcare system of African countries should be given top priority, because they have been hindering Africa's economic development. So the two sides, especially their enterprises, should take more proactive measures to expand investment.

According to data from the African Development Bank, Africa requires $130-170 billion in infrastructure investment every year. And China has the capability to fulfill a large part of that requirement. It is because of its huge development and investment capability that China has become the largest foreign investor in infrastructure in Africa.

Since the establishment of FOCAC in 2000, Chinese companies have helped African countries with funds to build and upgrade more than 10,000 kilometers of railways and about 100,000 km of roads. These infrastructure projects have not only improved the livelihoods of the local people, but also created favorable conditions for African countries to attract more foreign investment.

China also plans to build transnational and trans-regional projects to improve connectivity between, and boost the integration of, African countries. While Chinese investments to help develop Africa's healthcare sector have made substantial contributions to the continent's overall development, China-Africa cooperation on healthcare has now extended to cover medical research.

Throughout the pandemic, China and Africa have helped each other and made joint efforts to contain the novel coronavirus, with the aim of building a China-Africa community of shared health. China have sent medical teams and equipment, and supplied about 200 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines to African countries to help fight the pandemic.

And to further deepen cooperation with Africa, China will carry out bilateral, trilateral and multilateral market cooperation with African countries and other international partners, and use its experience to improve global governance and achieve common prosperity.

The author is an assistant researcher at the Institute of World Economics and Politics at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences. The views don't necessarily reflect those of China Daily.

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