The Beijing Summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) was successfully held in November 2006. The Summit adopted the Declaration of the Beijing Summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation and the Beijing Action Plan (2007-2009), and decided to establish a new type of China-Africa strategic partnership featuring political equality and mutual trust, economic win-win cooperation and cultural exchanges. It also laid down the goal for China-Africa cooperation in various fields in the next three years. The eight policy measures to enhance practical cooperation between China and Africa and support African development announced by Chinese President Hu Jintao on behalf of the Chinese Government have provided fresh impetus to China-Africa cooperation in the new era.
In the past year, China and Africa, both placing high importance on the follow-up actions of the Summit, have made tremendous and productive efforts to implement them.
1. Immediately after the Summit, China made a comprehensive plan for conducting follow-up cooperation in various areas on the basis of the outcome documents of the Summit, and worked out an overall plan as well as specific programs for implementing the eight policy measures. In January 2007, Chinese Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing visited seven African countries to start implementing the Summit outcomes. Soon afterwards, Chinese President Hu Jintao visited eight African countries and had in-depth exchanges of views and reached broad agreement with African leaders on advancing a new type of China-Africa strategic partnership, expanding practical cooperation and promoting common development. President Hu's visit marked the full launching of the eight policy measures. Later, Wu Bangguo, Chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress, and Jia Qinglin, Chairman of the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, paid respective visits to Africa and further advanced the implementation of the Summit outcomes. The Chinese government departments in charge of commerce, education, agriculture and health and Chinese financial institutions sent a number of delegations to Africa to consult African officials on cooperation in their respective areas of responsibility and conduct field studies.
Implementation of the eight policy measures announced by President Hu Jintao at the Summit is one of the core follow-up actions. China adheres to the following principles in implementing the follow-up actions:
¨ Treat each other with sincerity and goodwill and conduct consultations on an equal footing. There are many countries in Africa with different national conditions. In view of this, we have fully consulted the African countries through various channels, and fully respected their views.
¨ Make coordinated arrangements to ensure greater benefit. We have made comprehensive and coordinated arrangements so as to better meet the needs of African countries and benefit more countries and people.
¨ Take a pragmatic approach and work in order of priority. We have taken into consideration the specific conditions of African countries to ensure that the implementation measures China has taken according to its ability meet the need of economic and social development in Africa.
¨ Make incremental progress and ensure efficiency. Implementation of the Summit outcomes involves much coordination and cooperation. Project implementation involves several stages, including discussion, planning, feasibility study, and project approval. The competent departments of the Chinese Government are working hard to launch every follow-up action project that is ready for implementation.
2. The African leaders and governments have given full support to China and offered many good and constructive suggestions regarding the implementation of Summit outcomes. A number of African countries have set up special committees or coordination mechanisms headed by government leaders and composed of government departments concerned. Some countries have sent delegations to China for consultations on cooperation. So far, over 40 African countries have reached agreement with China on the implementation of the Summit outcomes.
Moreover, there has been close contact between Chinese government departments and African diplomatic missions in China, between Chinese diplomatic missions in Africa and governments of host countries and between the secretariat of the Chinese Follow-up Committee of FOCAC and African diplomatic missions in China. They have had fruitful dialogue and consultations on the implementation of the follow-up actions.
Thanks to the concerted efforts made by China and Africa, the FOCAC Summit follow-up actions have progressed smoothly, the new type of China-Africa strategic partnership has been steadily strengthened, and the practical cooperation between China and Africa has been enhanced.
I. Political relations
There have been frequent high-level contacts between China and Africa. In the first eight months of this year, three state leaders and the foreign minister of China respectively visited 20 African countries. Three presidents, one prime minister, seven foreign ministers and over 90 ministers from Africa visited China or attended international conferences in China.
Acting in accordance with the Beijing Action Plan of FOCAC, China and Africa decided to hold the first China-Africa foreign ministers' political consultation in New York on 26 September 2007. The consultation officially launches the regular political dialogue between foreign ministers of the two sides within the FOCAC framework.
China and Africa have strengthened the role of mechanisms such as bilateral commissions, foreign ministries' political consultations, mixed commissions on economic and trade cooperation and joint commissions on science and technology. Since the Summit, China has had bilateral commission meetings, foreign ministries' consultations or mixed commission meetings with over ten African countries.
There have been close exchanges between the parliaments, political parties and local governments of the two sides. After the Summit, Wu Bangguo, Chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress, and Jia Qinglin, Chairman of the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, visited Africa. Speakers or deputy speakers of parliament from six African countries visited China. By the end of August 2007, 20 delegations of political parties from African countries had visited China and 10 delegations or groups of the Communist Party of China had visited 20 African countries. The number of twin provinces/cities grew by 11 and has now reached 85.
China has strengthened its consultations and cooperation with the African Union and sub-regional organizations in Africa. China supports the AU's leading role in resolving African issues and has provided assistance both in cash and in kind to AU peacekeeping operations in Sudan and Somalia. Last April, the first ECOWAS delegation paid a visit to China during which it had discussions with Chinese government departments concerned on enhancing cooperation.
The Chinese Government appointed a special representative on African affairs last May and has worked vigorously and effectively for resolving the Darfur issue. China has provided humanitarian relief to Darfur on a number of occasions. It has also provided humanitarian assistance to Somalia through the UNHCR.
China is currently taking part in seven UN peacekeeping operations in Africa, contributing nearly 1,300 military personnel. China has decided to send a multi-functional engineering unit to the peacekeeping operation in Darfur.
A foundation stone laying ceremony was held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia on 25 May for the AU conference center to be built by China. Construction will begin in 2008.
II. Economic ties
China's investment in Africa has grown steadily and the areas of cooperation between the two sides have expanded. In the first six months of this year, direct investment by Chinese companies in Africa totaled 485 million US dollars. The China-Africa Joint Chamber of Commerce and Industry has carried out a number of activities. It hosted the China-Africa Business Cooperation Conference in Egypt in May, which was attended by more than 500 Chinese and African entrepreneurs.
The China-Africa Development Fund was launched in June this year. It supports well-established and reputable Chinese companies in making investment in projects in Africa that will upgrade technologies, increase employment and promote economic and social development of the countries concerned.
China has delivered on its commitment of opening market to African countries. 454 export commodities from 26 least developed African countries to China began to enjoy zero-tariff treatment on 1 July this year. In the first seven months of the year, China-Africa trade reached 39.3 billion US dollars, registering an increase of close to 30% over the same period last year.
The economic and trade cooperation zone set up by China in Zambia has taken initial shape, and Chinese economic and trade cooperation zones in Mauritius and Nigeria are under construction. China is negotiating bilateral agreements on quality inspection cooperation with 21 African countries.
China-Africa financial cooperation continues to expand. By making contribution to the African Development Fund and actively participating in the Multilateral Debt Relief Initiative, China has intensified cooperation with major regional financial institutions in Africa. The People's Bank of China and the West African Development Bank(BOAD) jointly hosted the "Chinese Economy Day" in Lomé, Togo immediately after the Beijing Summit in November 2006. The two sides signed a series of cooperation agreements during the event, which have contributed to poverty alleviation and the integration process in West Africa. The African Development Bank (ADB) held a successful annual board meeting in Shanghai last May, which was the first ADB annual meeting ever held in Asia and also the largest one attended by representatives at the most senior level.
Breakthrough has been made in China-Africa science and technology cooperation marked by the successful launching of a communication satellite by China for Nigeria last May. It is a ground-breaking event in China-Africa space cooperation, and it is the first communication satellite owned by an African country.
Four direct commercial flights between China and Africa have been launched since the Beijing Summit, making air travel between them more convenient. China-Africa cooperation in infrastructure development, energy and resources has enjoyed continued growth.
III. Cooperation in international affairs
China and Africa have strengthened consultations and cooperation in international affairs and have worked together to uphold the common interests of the two sides and the developing world and promote democracy in international relations and world peace, cooperation and development.
With the vigorous support of the great majority of African countries and other countries, China successfully restored its lawful rights in the World Organization for Animal Health and defeated the attempts of the Taiwan authorities to participate in the activities of the World Health Organization at the 60th World Health Assembly and "join the United Nations under the name Taiwan" at the current session of the UN General Assembly.
China has always spoken up for Africa's interests and development on various international occasions. At the G8 outreach sessions with the developing countries and on other occasions, Chinese leaders called on the international community, the developed countries in particular, to do more to assist Africa in its development and honor their pledge of assistance to Africa. During the UN Security Council deliberations on issues related to Africa, China stressed the need to address the concerns of African countries and regional organizations, and urged the Security Council to advance peace and security in Africa.
China has launched new demining operations in Africa. It will host a training course for demining personnel from African countries in China from October to December this year and provide landmine removal devices to help African countries in their demining efforts.
IV. Social development
China has continued to provide development assistance to Africa as its ability permits. Since the beginning of 2007, China has announced new assistance to 45 African countries. It has worked with African countries to improve the economic and social benefit of its assistance and increase input in social, cultural and public projects so as to benefit local people.
As part of the efforts to implement the eight policy measures, China has signed with eight African countries framework agreements on providing concessional loans and announced the provision of preferential export buyer's credit to an African country.
China has signed protocols of debt cancellation with 23 of the 33 heavily indebted poor countries and least developed countries in Africa having diplomatic relations with China. Procedures for debt cancellation for the remaining countries will be completed within 2007.
To meet Africa's needs, China will train this year 5,000 African professionals in business, education, health, science and technology, culture, agriculture, customs, quality inspection, telecommunications, environmental protection and media. By the end of August, China had conducted 148 training workshops and trained 3,668 African professionals of various types.
China will dispatch 51 senior agricultural experts to 17 African countries this year to help host countries formulate plans of agricultural development, improve seed strains, pass on agricultural technologies and managerial expertise and train local technicians.
The demonstration center of agricultural technology built by China in Mozambique has opened. Feasibility studies of establishing such demonstration centers in 14 African countries have been completed, and the centers will be set up by 2009.
China has exchanged notes with 19 African countries on building or providing assistance to 42 rural schools.
China has continued to send medical teams to Africa. Over 1,000 Chinese medical personnel are working in Africa. China will complete field study and design of 20 hospitals that it will build for Africa, and hospital construction will start next year. China has continued to provide 33 African countries with anti-malaria drugs. The first malaria prevention and treatment center built for Africa by China has opened in Liberia and 31 other such centers will be built in the coming two years. China will donate medicine and diagnosing and treatment equipment to these centers. It will also send groups of Chinese doctors to Africa to pass on malaria prevention and treatment expertise and provide clinical guidance and train local medical personnel.
China will send a total of 120 youth volunteers to 10 African countries this year. There are currently 75 Chinese volunteers working in Ethiopia, Zimbabwe and Seychelles who teach Chinese, conduct physical education, provide computer training and traditional Chinese medical treatment. During his visit to Africa early this year, President Hu Jintao invited 500 African young people to visit China within three years, and arrangements are being made for their visits.
China has provided 2,683 scholarships to Africa in 2007, nearly 700 more than 2006. In 2007, China signed with six African countries agreements or letters of intent on the opening of ten Confucius institutes or Confucius classes to teach Chinese.
China-Africa cultural exchanges have continued to flourish. There have been frequent mutual visits between Chinese and African cultural groups since the Beijing Summit. Five plans for implementing bilateral cultural agreements have been renewed. Eight Chinese art troupes have toured Africa and two African art troupes have performed in China this year.
At the Beijing Summit, the Chinese Government announced giving nine African countries approved destination status (ADS) for Chinese tourist groups. China has signed memoranda of understanding on ADS implementation plan with four of them.