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The Gambia, Sao Tome and Principe, Burkina Faso Join FOCAC

(AFRICAN EXAMINER) – The Gambia, Sao Tome and Principe, and Burkina Faso were on Sunday, welcomed and congratulated as new members of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC).

They were welcomed at the Seventh Ministerial Conference of the FOCAC, which was held on Sunday in Beijing.

Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi and Chinese Minister of Commerce Zhong Shan co-chaired the meeting with South African Minister of International Relations and Cooperation Lindiwe Sisulu and South African Minister of Trade and Industry Rob Davies.

Attending the meeting were foreign ministers and ministers or representatives responsible for foreign economic and trade affairs from 53 African members of the FOCAC and senior representatives of the African Union Commission.

Wang said, this year marks the 18th anniversary of the establishment of FOCAC and the forum has become a model of South-South cooperation and a banner of international cooperation with Africa.

During the FOCAC Beijing Summit, President Xi Jinping on behalf of the Chinese government will put forward the specific vision on building a China-Africa community with a shared future, and announce proposals and measures by the

Chinese side to strengthen China-Africa cooperation in the future, Wang said, adding that the summit will be a historical one that will enhance China-Africa solidarity and cooperation.

Sisulu said African countries appreciate China’s long-term assistance and support, admire its enormous achievements, and are willing to learn from the country’s development experience.

Sisulu said,African Countries will work closely with China to push for a successful FOCAC Beijing Summit.

NAN reports that according to data from China’s Ministry of Commerce, established 18 years ago, FOCAC has achieved fruitful results and has become a significant mark of China-Africa cooperation. China-Africa trade volume amounted to 170 billion dollars in 2017, up from just over 10 billion dollars in 2000.

More concrete projects are expected to come into being during the upcoming series of FOCAC events, including the High-Level Dialogue of China-Africa Leaders and Business Representatives and the 6th China-Africa Business Forum.

This year marks the fifth anniversary of the China-proposed Belt and Road Initiative, with more African countries expressing their interest in joining the grand project.

So far, nearly 10 African countries have signed Belt and Road cooperation agreements with China, and a few more are in negotiations.

Recently in July, during Chinese President Xi Jinping’s visit to Africa, China signed cooperation documents with Senegal and Rwanda.

Proposed in 2013, the Belt and Road Initiative refers to the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road, which aims to build a trade and infrastructure network connecting Asia with Europe and Africa along the ancient trade routes of the Silk Road.

Cooperation under the initiative, which certainly goes beyond infrastructure, is expected to be a major topic of the upcoming FOCAC summit.

China says it is willing to work with Africa to dovetail its Belt and Road Initiative with the Agenda 2063 of the African Union, the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development of the UN, as well as the development strategies of individual African countries to explore new opportunities and inject new impetus for Africa’s development. (NAN)

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