'China, Africa now moving forward on distinctive path of win-win co-operation for development'
BEIJING - September 3, 2018 - On the third day of his visit to Beijing, President Abdel Fattah El Sisi took part in a high-level dialogue that brought together Chinese and African leaders and business representatives. The Egyptian leader also participated in the 6th conference of Chinese and African entrepreneurs.
The dialogue and the conference were the two major events that preceded the landmark summit-level Forum of China-Africa Co-operation (FOCAC) 2018 which Chinese President Xi Jinping opened in Beijing on Monday, hailing the august gathering as an indication that China and Africa have embarked on a distinctive path of win-win co-operation.
Egypt also lauded the convening of the FOCAC as an auspicious occasion for the Chinese and African sides to move forward along the path of co-operation, interaction and coordination.
Expressing this attitude was Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukri who asserted the importance of President Sisi's participation in the FOCAC summit, noting in this context that Egypt which will assume the chairmanship of the African Union in 2019 is set to pay due care to the special ties that bind the community of AU member-states and China.
Egypt, Foreign Minister Shoukri said in press statements he gave in Beijing, will seek during its chairmanship of the pan-African organisation to ensure the continuity of the process of ascertaining the common interests between the Chinese and African sides.
In a keynote address inaugurating the FOCAC, Chinese President Xi praised the big event as evidencing that China and Africa have embarked on a distinctive path of win-win co-operation, according to the Chinese news agency Xinhua.
There is great potential for development in Africa and the continent is full of hope, President Xi said, adding that China-Africa friendship and co-operation have broad vistas, and China and Africa can forge an even stronger comprehensive strategic and cooperative partnership.
China, President Xi said, values sincerity, friendship and equality in pursuing co-operation. The over 1.3 billion Chinese people have been with the over 1.2 billion African people in pursuing a shared future, he said.
Defining China's policy on ties with Africa, President Xi said his country follows a "five-no" approach to relations with Africa. China's policy, he explained, is based upon no interference in African countries' pursuit of development paths that fit their national conditions, no interference in African countries' internal affairs, no imposition of China's will on African countries, no attachment of political strings to assistance to Africa, and no seeking of selfish political gains in investment and financing co-operation with Africa.
"No one could undermine the great unity between the Chinese people and the African people," the Chinese leader said.
China pursues common interests and puts friendship first in co-operation. China believes the sure way to boost China-Africa co-operation is for both sides to leverage their respective strengths and for China to complement Africa's development through its own growth, and for both sides to pursue win-win co-operation and common development, Xi said.
"No one could hold back the Chinese people or the African people as we march toward rejuvenation," President Xi said in his speech at the FOCAC 2018 inaugural ceremony.
China takes a people-oriented approach in pursuing practical co-operation with efficiency. With top priority given to the interests of the Chinese and African peoples, China advances its co-operation with Africa to improve the well-being of Chinese and African peoples and deliver more benefits to them.
"We will fully honour the promises we have made to our African brothers," the Chinese president said. "No one could, out of his imagination or assumption, deny the remarkable achievements made in China-Africa co-operation," he added.
Stressing that China adopts an open and inclusive approach to co-operation, President Xi said that his country stands ready to work with other international partners to support Africa in pursuing peace and development. "No one could stand in the way or obstruct international efforts to support Africa's development," he added.
On the sidelines of the opening of the forum, President Sisi held a meeting with South Sudanese President Salva Kiir during which they discussed enhancing co-operation between the two sides in various fields in the light of distinguished relations binding the two countries.
The meeting also included discussions on the latest political and security developments in South Sudan. During the meeting, FM Shoukri stressed the importance of realising stability and security in South Sudan, asserting Egypt's supporting stance to South Sudan and its people. He also highlighted that Egypt offers all means of assistance and training grants to South Sudanese people in all fields, including education, health, irrigation and agriculture.
The FOCAC is expected to issue two important documents: a final communiqué in the form of a Beijing Declaration on building stronger community with a shared future between China and Africa and the FOCAC’s Beijing Plan of Action for the years 2019-2021.
China’s State Councillor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi indicated, in a briefing to foreign media representatives in Beijing on August 22, that this year’s summit will also write a new chapter for the alignment of the Belt and Road Initiative and the development of Africa.
The Chinese side, Minister Yi said, is willing to, together with the African side, better combine the construction of the Belt and Road Initiative with the implementation of the Agenda 2063 of the AU, the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the development strategies of various African countries, and actively promote policy coordination, facilities connectivity, unimpeded trade, financial integration and people-to-people bonds between China and Africa, so as to open up new space and provide new impetus for Africa's development and revitalisation.
The Belt and Road Initiative could significantly reduce costs of doing business for both China and Africa while strengthening ties at the same time, the Assistant Administrator and Director of the Regional Bureau for Africa, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), Ahunna Eziakonwa, told Xinhua.
The 2018 FOCAC is the third such summit-level forum of the leaders of China and African countries. It was established in the year 2000 as a platform for collective consultation and dialogue on political, economic and socio-cultural co-operation between China and Africa. FOCAC was originally convened at the ministerial level once every three years until the year 2006 when it was elevated to the summit level and held the Beijing meeting with the participation of heads of state and government. Three years ago, the second FOCAC summit convened in Johannesburg. Since its inception 18 years ago, the FOCAC has served as a mechanism for extensive consultation, joint contribution and shared benefits, and has become a forum featuring equality, practicality and efficiency, China’s foreign minister said in the same briefing.
Today, the FOCAC has become a well-known brand of China-Africa co-operation, and also a banner that guides international co-operation with Africa and elevates South-South co-operation, Minister Yi said.