29 April 2018

Africa: China-Africa Summit Preparations in High Gear - Officials

Preparations for the 2018 Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) that will take place in September are in high gear, officials have said.

The summit is part of the FOCAC cooperation which involves 52 African countries, the AU Commission and the Peoples Republic of China as partners.

The cooperation is in areas such as trade, technology, media, diplomacy, agriculture, culture and people-to-people exchanges.

"In early September, the FOCAC summit will be held in Beijing, bringing our relationship even to higher level. So we are working very hard in preparing for the upcoming summit," said Dai Bing, the Director General of the Department of African affairs in the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs in an interview in Beijing.

"At the same time we are working with our African colleagues in implementing the merges we agreed at the Johannesburg summit," he added.

The last FOCAC Summit was held in Johannesburg, South Africa in 2015 and was co-chaired by President Xi Jinping and Jacob Zuma, former president of South Africa.

In the summit, China pledged a new round of funding support to Africa's development, worth $60 billion.

The $60 billion pot was divided into $5 billion of free aid and interest-free loans, $35 billion of preferential loans and export credit and $5 billion dollars of additional capital for the China-Africa Development Fund and the Special Loan for the Development of African SMEs, and $10 billion of funding for a China-Africa production capacity cooperation.

According to Dai Bing, 90 percent of this support has been implemented.

"Our investments in Africa exceeded 100 billion US Dollars and Chinese enterprises in Africa exceeded more than 3000; and over 70 percent of these are private Chinese companies," he said.

He however noted that with the declining prices of commodities, the two-way trade between china and African countries declined a little bit in the recent years from $220 billion in 2014 to about $170 billion last year.

"Africa is expected to grow by more than three percent. So, as the African economy begins to recover, I think that it will attract more Chinese investors. In particular, we are going to have the Beijing summit again for the FOCAC, and china and African countries will introduce more mergers to boost our cooperation. So, all this will deliver a strong boost for economic relations between our two sides. So we are very optimistic about our economic cooperation in the future," he said.

He added that China is keen not to bring pollution to Africa.

"We have no intention to pollute the blue sky, mountains and clean water in Africa.

So in this sense, if our steel mills or concrete factories are built in Africa, we have formulated very tough environmental regulations for those overseas steel mills, and concrete factories as well as other facilities," he said.

The 2018 summit is expected to be jointly co-chaired by President Xi Jinping and President Cyril Ramaphosa of South Africa.

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