Friendship associations from China and Africa under the Africa-China Friendship Organization gathered in the Chinese capital, Beijing, on November 14, 2017, for a one-day leaders' meeting. The theme was "New opportunities for the Belt and Road and Africa-China cooperation."
At the opening, Abdul'ahat Abdurixit, President of the Chinese-African People's Friendship Association, CAPFA, said the gathering came at a time China was entering a new development era after last month's 19th Communist Party of China, CPC national congress. He likened China's destiny to that of Africa as the two sides enjoy close relations.
Abdurixit said the Belt and Road Initiative put forward by President Xi Jinping in 2013 has benefitted many people in Africa. "To go further, we need to go together," he cited Xi as saying last May at the Belt and Road Forum on International Cooperation in Beijing. "I see a more harmonious future for Africa and China," Abdul'ahat Abdurixit predicted in his conclusion.
Victor Sikonina, Madagascar's Ambassador to China and Dean of the African Diplomatic Corps, congratulated China on its new vision of relations with the world after the 19th CPC national congress. He stated that Africa did not want to be left behind or play a second role in the Belt and Road Initiative, adding that his country was one of the first in Africa to sign up for the initiative in March 2017.
Kyosi Puso Gaborone, President of the Botswana-China Friendship Association who spoke for African delegates, noted the role of people-to-people exchanges in boosting diplomatic relations. He urged Africans to take advantage of the cooperation avenues offered by China. A representative from Tanzania, Joseph Kulwa Kahama, spoke of the changes under President John Magufuli. He said corruption has been significantly curbed, thereby paving the way for more direct Chinese investments.
The meeting featured group discussions on the Belt and Road Initiative and China-Africa Cooperation during which Chinese business people presented reports of their activities on the continent and avenues for more cooperation. There was also a seminar on sharing successful experiences by representatives from both sides.