The African Union Commission (AUC) Chairperson Dr Dlamini Zuma and Chinese Foreign Affairs Minister Mr. Yang Jiechi have met in the Chinese capital city, Beijing, in talks to strengthen the strategic partnership between China and the African Union and to promote bilateral cooperation.
Under FOCAC, China and Africa have had five rounds of strategic dialogue to date and expect the next round to go a long way to further strengthen the relationship, said Mr Jiechi.
Dr Dlamini Zuma on the other hand expressed appreciation for the long standing relationship between Africa and China. She also highlighted the importance to Africa, of the celebration of the 50th anniversary of the formation of the Organisation of African Union in May this year, adding that it would be an opportunity to review the past fifty years, as well as to plan ahead for the next 50.
Africa and China have been in dialogue since 2000 when the Forum for China Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) was launched. The Forum was established as a platform for collective consultation and dialogue and as a cooperation mechanism among developing countries.
Since the formation of FOCAC, political exchange between Africa and China has been strengthened. There has been growth in the business and trade between the two sides and a deepening of cooperation in development areas. Currently, China is one of Africa's most important trade and economic partners. Figures estimate that in 2012, trade between the two reached USD166.3 billion. Cooperation has also been extended to areas such as infrastructure, climate change, technology transfer, trade finance, agriculture, health, education and cultural exchanges.
The Chairperson is accompanied on her visit by the AUC's Commissioner for Economic Affairs Dr Maxwell Mkwezalamba, the Commissioner of Infrastructure and Energy Dr Mrs. Elham Mahmoud Ibrahim, as well as Senior Officials from the Commission.