Invited by Nigerian Foreign Minister Geoffrey Onyeama, DRC Minister of State and Minister of Foreign Affairs Marie Tumba Nzeza, Botswanan Foreign Minister Lemogang Kwape, Tanzanian Foreign Minister Palamagamba Kabudi and Foreign Minister Sylvestre Radegonde of the Republic of Seychelles, State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi will pay official visits to the five countries from January 4 to 9, 2021.
Since 1991, Africa has been the destination for Chinese foreign ministers' first overseas visit each year. State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi's visit this time is a continuation of this fine tradition, which demonstrates the high importance China attaches to its relationship with Africa.
Since the outbreak of COVID-19, China and Africa have worked in solidarity to fight against the epidemic, a testament to our brotherhood. This visit also shows China's sincerity and determination in deepening friendly relations with African countries in the post-Covid era.
President Xi Jinping and African leaders had a successful Extraordinary China-Africa Summit on Solidarity Against COVID-19, and the fine tradition of mutual assistance was further strengthened. China has sent medical teams, paired up Chinese and African hospitals, provided much-needed medical supplies, and worked with Africa on vaccines.
The Africa CDC headquarters as an assistance project by China has just had its groundbreaking ceremony. It will stand as a historic witness of China-Africa solidarity in fighting the pandemic.
China and Africa have scaled up the implementation of follow-ups to the FOCAC Beijing Summit of 2018, with the health care initiative as a top priority. China has signed debt service suspension agreements with 12 African countries and provided waivers of matured interest-free loan for 15 African countries.
China has suspended more debt service than any other G20 member. China and Africa have always shared weal and woe. This friendship emerged still stronger from the test of COVID-19 in 2020.
More than twenty years ago, Chinese and African leaders gathered in Beijing to inaugurate FOCAC. A new era was thus opened for China-Africa relations.
Over the past 20 years, FOCAC has come a long way in strengthening China-Africa solidarity and friendship. It has grown into a big family where all are equal members bound by brotherly ties and treat each other with respect, regardless of size or strength.
Over the past 20 years, FOCAC has come a long way in boosting common development of China and Africa. In 2019, trade between China and Africa hit US$208,7 billion, and total Chinese FDI in Africa reached US$49,1 billion, grown by 20-fold and 100-fold respectively compared with 20 years ago. China has built for Africa over 6 000 kilometers of railways and the same mileage of roads, nearly 20 ports and over 80 large-scale power plants.
The African Union (AU) Conference Center, the Mombasa-Nairobi railway, and the Maputo-Katembe Bridge, key projects in Africa's drive to achieve the "Century Dream", have been dedicated one after another, and stand as monumental symbols of the shared development of China and Africa.
Over the past 20 years, FOCAC has come a long way in enhancing the friendship between the Chinese and African peoples. To date, China has provided some 120 000 government scholarships, and opened 61 Confucius Institutes and 44 Confucius Classrooms in 46 African countries.
As many as 21 000 Chinese medical personnel have worked, or are working, in 48 African countries, providing treatment to around 220 million African people. When West Africa was raged by Ebola in 2014, over 1 000 Chinese health professionals defied the dangers and rushed to their help. Today, facing Covid-19, China and Africa have again come together in a joint fight.
In 2020, China and Africa celebrated the 20th anniversary of the establishment of FOCAC. The year 2021 is the final year for the implementation of the outcomes of FOCAC Beijing Summit. State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi's upcoming visit will follow President Xi Jinping's vision of upholding the principles of sincerity, real results, amity and good faith and pursuing the greater good and shared interests to strengthen communication with African countries, implement the important consensus reached by President Xi Jinping and African leaders and jointly act on the outcomes of the FOCAC Beijing Summit and the Extraordinary China-Africa Summit on Solidarity against COVID-19, support African countries in combating the virus and achieving economic recovery, advance BRI cooperation between China and Africa and build a closer China-Africa community with a shared future.
In 2021, China and Africa will have FOCAC meetings in Senegal. In this context, State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi will exchange views with the African side on the preparations for the next FOCAC meeting.
China will work with Africa on the three priority areas of vaccine cooperation, economic recovery and transformative development to build new consensus on solidarity, break new ground for cooperation, and deliver new benefits to the people.
China is the biggest developing country, and Africa is home to the largest number of developing countries. With the shared identity as part of the developing world, China and Africa have the responsibility of advancing the interests of developing countries.
China and Africa will stay good brothers supporting each other, good partners pursuing common development, and good comrades-in-arms standing together through thick and thin. The traditional friendship between China and Africa will be further promoted in the post-Covid era with each passing day.