For our readers, we are sharing the article published by The Citizen here.
On 29th and 30th November this year, the Eighth Ministerial Conference of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) will be held in Dakar, the capital of Senegal. It is another great event for China-Africa solidarity and cooperation. With the theme of “Deepen China-Africa Partnership and Promote Sustainable Development to Build a China-Africa Community with a Shared Future in the New Era”, representatives of China and African countries will get together to have a comprehensive assessment of the implementation of the outcomes of FOCAC Beijing Summit in 2018 and China-Africa solidarity in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.
FOCAC is an important mechanism for collective dialogue between China and Africa and a key platform for promoting practical cooperation between the two sides. Since its establishment in 2000, FOCAC has developed into a fine example of South-South cooperation and a banner of international cooperation with Africa. Over the past 21 years, the China-Africa relationship has evolved from “the new type of partnership” to “the new type of strategic partnership”, and to “the comprehensive strategic and cooperative partnership” at present. Since 2000, the China-Africa trade volume and China’s FDI in Africa have increased 20-fold and 100-fold respectively. China has been Africa’s largest trading partner for 12 consecutive years, and Chinese enterprises’ direct investment stock in Africa has exceeded US$56 billion.
In September 2018, the FOCAC Beijing Summit was held with grandeur, during which the Chinese and African leaders reached a consensus on the building of an even stronger China-Africa community with a shared future. After that, China and Africa have jointly promoted the implementation of the summit’s outcomes, especially the “Eight Major Initiatives”.
Facing the unexpected COVID-19 pandemic, China and Africa have supported each other to tide over the difficulties and promoted further development of their cooperation, which bucks the declining international trend of trade and investment, and manifests the great resilience and strong vitality of the bilateral cooperation. During the past three years, China and Africa have successfully held such important events as the China-Africa Economic and Trade Expo and the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation in Agriculture. In addition, the China-Africa Institute, the China-Africa Environmental Cooperation Center, and 14 Luban Workshops have been established. In the first seven months of this year, the China-Africa trade volume reached US$139.1 billion, registering a year-on-year growth of 40.5%, and China’s direct investment in Africa was US$2.96 billion, which surpassed the pre-pandemic level of 2019.
The China-Africa friendship has been strengthened continuously in their solidarity against the COVID-19 pandemic. When China was in its most difficult time in fighting the virus, African brothers gave their support in various forms to China, while after the outbreak of COVID-19 in Africa, China took the lead to render assistance, including dispatching expert teams to 17 African countries, donating anti-epidemic supplies to all African members of FOCAC, and providing vaccines to over 50 African countries and the African Union through aid and export. China’s strong support in this regard has been widely praised by African countries.
Tanzania has actively participated in FOCAC activities and supported the forum’s establishment and development during the past 21 years. China and Tanzania have maintained strategic communication within the FOCAC framework, deepened mutually beneficial cooperation, and promoted the implementation of relevant outcomes of all previous FOCAC conferences, thereby bringing steady impetus to the common development of China and Tanzania.
The trade volume between China and Tanzania has increased nearly 50-fold from less than US$100 million in 2000 to US$4.58 billion in 2020. The accumulative investment of Chinese companies in Tanzania has exceeded US$7 billion, with more than 700 investment projects. China has been Tanzania’s largest trading partner and biggest source of foreign investment for several consecutive years. The Julius Nyerere International Convention Centre (JNICC), the University of Dar es Salaam Library and the Jakaya Kikwete Cardiac Institute (JKCI) built with Chinese assistance have become new symbolic projects of China-Tanzania friendship.
The infrastructural projects are undertaken by Chinese companies, such as the fifth section of the Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) and the expansion and renovation of Dar es Salaam Port, and the China-Tanzania production capacity cooperation projects, such as the acquisition of Maweni Limestone Ltd. by Huaxin Cement, are all progressing steadily. Moreover, China has resolutely supported Tanzania in fighting the COVID-19 pandemic. It is providing a total number of nearly 3.5 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines to Tanzania.
At the moment when the world is facing global changes and a pandemic, both of a scale unseen in a century, the importance of China-Africa solidarity and cooperation has become more obvious. Upholding the principles of sincerity and friendliness, equality and mutual respect, efficiency and pragmatism, and mutual benefit and win-win outcomes, the upcoming Eighth Ministerial Conference of the FOCAC will build a new consensus and inject fresh impetus to the common development of China and Africa.
China plans to announce targeted cooperation measures in key areas, such as infrastructure, healthcare, climate change, and digital economy, so as to promote transformation and upgrading of China-Africa cooperation and enhance its quality and efficiency. China is ready to conduct close communication with Tanzania and work with it to generate more fruits within the frameworks of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) and FOCAC, so as to elevate the China-Tanzania comprehensive cooperative partnership to a new height.