FOCAC effective to boost China-Africa cooperation: envoy

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Malian President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita (left) arrives at Capital International Airport in Beijing, in China, August 29, 2018. Mr Ibrahim is attending the Beijing Summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC). Xinhua

BEIJING (Xinhua) – The Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) has proven to be productive and effective in boosting China-Africa cooperation, a Chinese special envoy said.

Zhou Yuxiao, China’s ambassador for FOCAC affairs, said this in an interview with Xinhua prior to the FOCAC Beijing Summit in September, expressing his confidence in the event’s success.

The summit is scheduled for September 3 to 4 in Beijing. Priorities and key directions for China-Africa cooperation in the next three years will be announced.

A key aspect to watch, Mr Zhou said, will be how China and Africa link the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) with the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the African Union’s Agenda 2063, and African countries’ development plans.

With the “twin engines” of the BRI and FOCAC, China-Africa cooperation is poised to move forward more steadily, faster and further.

“I’m confident that the summit will be a complete success,” said Mr Zhou, adding FOCAC has grown into a dynamic mechanism with rich content and tangible results, following the principles of sincerity, practical results, affinity and good faith and the values of friendship, justice, and shared interests.

“China neither imposes its own will on others nor seeks its sphere of influence,” said Mr Zhou.

“The concept of ‘extensive consultation, joint contribution, and shared benefits’ is upheld when China cooperates with African countries.”

FOCAC was founded in 2000 and its membership had grown to have China, 53 African countries having diplomatic relations with China, and the African Union Commission as of June 2018, according to the FOCAC website.

Under the FOCAC framework, there are regular consultations at ministerial and senior-official levels, and between the Chinese Follow-up Committee and the African Diplomatic Corps in China. Sub-forums on business, youth, health and poverty reduction, and many others, have also been set up.

FOCAC has held two summits gathering leaders of China and African countries, one in Beijing in 2006 and another in Johannesburg in 2015.

Mr Zhou, who spent years in Africa and served as the Chinese ambassadors to Liberia and Zambia, said he had witnessed the development of FOCAC over the years.

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