The Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) in one such platforms and the inauguration of its "2018 Beijing Summit" on Sept. 3 come at an ideal time, providing a perfect platform for discussing and finalizing plans for the long-term China-Africa relationship.
The Forum for China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC), being held in Beijing this week, provides a major opportunity for the two sides to create stronger win-win links. [Photo/Xinhua]
The forum was launched 18 years ago, and has slowly grown to become a fine example of South-South Cooperation based on mutual respect and a desire to grow together.
The theme of the coming summit -- "China and Africa: Toward an Even Stronger Community with a Shared Future through Win-Win Cooperation" – perfectly sums up the aspirations of the organizers from the two sides. The summit is set to be a huge diplomatic activity.
A number of African leaders, including the head of the African Union (AU) and the United Nations Secretary-General will be in attendance. The organizers also expect around 27 international and African groups to be present as observers.
President Xi Jinping will deliver a keynote speech at the opening ceremony of the summit. He will also attend and deliver a speech during the opening ceremony of the High-Level Dialogue of China-Africa Leaders and Business Representatives and the 6th China-Africa Business Forum.
This surely shows his deep interest in cultivating diplomatic ties and building business and commercial linkages with the many countries of Africa.
China made a correct decision many years ago in spotting the potential of the continent. Africa is the hidden gem of the world and its true worth has not been fully explored. It still has vast untapped natural assets and human resources long awaiting someone to come and tap them.
Though, the colonial period badly scarred the beauty and spirit of the African continent, it is slowly rising out of that darkness. As already noted, there is no dearth of resources in Africa, but the people lacked expertise and capital to make good use of them.
This gap is being filled by China, which has embarked on a mission to build a close network of ties with African nations. The aim is to provide vital capital and expertise for several key infrastructure and other projects. It has helped to create jobs for the local people and stimulate economic activities.
Many projects have been completed, while others are underway. The growing cooperation will surely be followed by more joint developmental ventures.
One of the objectives of the FOCAC is to build up a close China-Africa community, which is very possible through a joint effort for industrialization of Africa. Driven by high-technology, China has entered into a new phase of development. It can now outsource several basic production facilities to Africa and thus help bring an industrial revolution.
China can also help modernization of Africa's agriculture sector. Environment is another field for bilateral and multilateral cooperation, the African nations having a chance to learn much from the Chinese experience in how to initiate green development.
The mega Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) is another opportunity for both sides. It will be interesting to see how the BRI and FOCAC can integrate priorities and evolve a roadmap that will enable African nations to benefit by linking their domestic developmental strategies with China's flagship project for win-win cooperation.
All eyes are on the FOCAC summit which will conclude with a declaration and an action plan to provide guidelines for China-Africa cooperation for the next three years. Let us hope that the summit will initiate a new phase of fast-track economic development in China and Africa.