Original title: China-Africa cooperation has broad prospects for mutual benefit and win-win
From November 29th to 30th, the 8th Ministerial Conference of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation will be held in Dakar, the capital of Senegal. The theme of the conference is “Deepening China-Africa partnership, promoting sustainable development, and building a China-Africa community with a shared future in a new era.” This is an important event jointly organized by China and Africa in the context of the intertwining of the new crown pneumonia epidemic and the world’s century-old changes. It will surely lead the construction of a China-Africa community with a shared future into a new stage. The meeting will adopt four outcome documents, namely the Dakar Declaration, the Dakar Action Plan (2022-2024), the China-Africa Cooperation Vision 2035 and the China-Africa Cooperation Declaration on Climate Change.
The Forum on China-Africa Cooperation is an important platform for collective dialogue between China and Africa and an effective mechanism for pragmatic cooperation, which has strongly promoted the in-depth development of China-Africa comprehensive strategic partnership. Looking back on the glorious course of the 21 years since the establishment of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation, it has made significant and extraordinary achievements in promoting China-Africa relations and China-Africa cooperation.
First of all, a series of pragmatic measures have been introduced at all previous forum meetings to promote the all-round development of China-Africa cooperation in various fields. These measures include agriculture, industry, education, human resource development, health care, trade and investment and financing, infrastructure construction, cultural exchanges, debt relief, peace and security, etc., involving almost all aspects of China-Africa relations. All measures are tangible, cater to the development demands of both China and Africa, and help Africa overcome development bottlenecks such as shortage of funds, shortage of talents, and lagging infrastructure construction.
Secondly, under the promotion of the forum mechanism, China has become one of Africa’s most important external development cooperation partners, and has exerted an important influence on the development of Africa. China has been Africa’s largest trading partner country for 12 consecutive years since 2009, one of Africa’s most important sources of foreign investment and financing, and the largest builder of infrastructure such as transportation and energy in Africa. Third, the forum has significantly improved Africa’s international status, prompting the international community to pay more attention to Africa, increase investment in Africa, and enhance and improve the diplomatic options of African countries. Of course, African countries also firmly support China on issues related to China’s core national interests such as Taiwan, Hong Kong, Xinjiang, and human rights, and help the great cause of the Chinese nation to develop and rejuvenate. Therefore, China-Africa relations and China-Africa cooperation are models of mutual benefit and common development.
Looking forward to the future, the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation and China-Africa relations have a promising future. In addition to improving the quality and efficiency of cooperation in the above-mentioned various fields, China and Africa should also strive to create new cooperation and development growth points.
First of all, in view of the situation that the new crown epidemic is still spreading across Africa, China and Africa should continue to strengthen cooperation in the development, production and delivery of new crown vaccines. Only by thoroughly defeating the epidemic can Africa’s economic recovery and the full development of China-Africa economic and trade cooperation be possible.
Second, more attention should be paid to the exchange of experience in governance and administration between China and Africa, to help Africa find a development path that suits its own national conditions, and maintain peace, stability and long-term stability in African countries. The 100-year history of the Communist Party of China and the successful development experience of more than 40 years of reform and opening up in China should provide some useful reference and enlightenment for the governance of African countries.
Third, it will help the construction and integration of a free trade zone on the African continent and unleash the huge potential of China-Africa cooperation. The free trade zone and the integration of the African continent represent the ideals and demands of Africa’s unity and self-improvement. China has made many achievements in helping Africa’s interconnection and cross-border and cross-regional infrastructure construction. In the future, it can further help Africa develop industry and manufacturing, and promote the facilitation of intra-African trade and investment and economic integration.
In addition, China-Africa cooperation is also very broad in terms of digital economy, climate change, energy transition, sustainable development, people-to-people exchanges and people-to-people bonds. The Dakar meeting of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation is expected to introduce new measures in these areas, which will effectively embody the concept of “true, close, and honest” in China-Africa cooperation, and promote the building of a China-Africa community with a shared future.
(The author is Zeng Aiping, deputy director of the Institute of Developing Countries, China Institute of International Studies)