China is expected to launch eight major initiatives in close collaboration with African countries in the next three years and beyond. President of China, Xi Jinping said when officiating at the largest Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) Summit meeting to date in Beijing China on Monday that to ensure that the eight initiatives are implemented, his country will extend US$60 billion of financing to Africa in the form of government assistance as well as investment and financing by financial institutions and companies.
This according to President Jinping, will include US$ 15 billion of grants, interest-free loans and concessional loans, US$20 billion of credit lines, the setting up of a US$10 billion special fund for development financing and a US$10 billion of investment in Africa in the next three years.
In addition, China will also exempt loans of Africa’s least developed countries, heavily indebted and poor countries, landlocked developing countries and small island developing countries, due to mature by the end of 2018. Jinping’s optimism is fueled by positive results yielded from the 2015 FOCAC hosted on African soil in Johannesburg, South Africa, where 10 cooperation plans were adopted, and China has since fully implemented.
Since then, a large number of railway, highway, airport, port and other infrastructure projects as well as a number of economic and trade cooperation zones have been built or are under construction. “Our cooperation on peace and security, science, education, culture, health, poverty reduction, and people-to-people interactions has deepened,” President Jinping said.
According to the Chinese President, these 10 cooperation plans have brought huge benefits to the African and Chinese people, and have fully demonstrated the creativity, rallying power and efficiency of China-Africa cooperation and lifted China-Africa comprehensive strategic and cooperative partnership to new heights.
President Jinping added that to build an even closer China-Africa community with a shared future in the new era, China is ready to launch eight major initiatives that are expected to catapult China-Africa relations to even greater heights.
CHINA PROMISES TO; Launch industrial promotion initiative
China has decided to open a China-Africa economic and trade expo in China, where Chinese companies will be encouraged to increase investment in Africa. The country will also build and upgrade a number of economic and trade cooperation zones in Africa. China promises to support Africa in achieving general food security by 2030, work with Africa to formulate and implement a programme of action to promote China-Africa cooperation on agricultural modernisation.
According to President Jinping, China will also implement 50 agricultural assistance programmes, provide RMB one billion of emergency humanitarian food assistance to African countries affected by natural disasters, send 500 senior agriculture experts to Africa, and train young researchers in afri-science and entrepreneurs in agri-business.
“We will continue to strengthen cooperation with African countries in local currency settlement and make good use of the China-Africa Development Fund, the China-Africa Fund for Industrial Cooperation and the Special Loan for the Development of African SMEs.
Launch an infrastructure connectivity initiative
China has decided to jointly formulate a China-Africa infrastructure cooperation plan with the African Union (AU).“We will support Chinese companies in participating in Africa’s infrastructure development by way of investment-construction-operation or through other models, with focus on enhancing cooperation on energy, transport, information, telecommunications and cross-border water resources.
China also promises to work with Africa to undertake a number of key connectivity projects. “We will support African in developing the Single Africa Air Transport Market and open more direct flights between China and Africa.”China also pledges to facilitate bond issuance by African countries and their financial institutions in China. On the basis of following multilateral rules and procedures, China will support African countries in making better use of financing resources of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, the New Development Bank and the Silk Road Fund.
Launch a trade facilitation initiative
China has decided to increase imports, particularly non-resource products from Africa. “We support African countries in participating in the China International Import Expo,” President Jinping said.According to Jinping, the least developed African countries participating in it will be exempted from paying exhibition stand fees.
China promises to continue to strengthen exchanges and cooperation on market regulation and between customs authorities, and implement 50 trade facilitation programmes for Africa. “We hold on a regular basis, marketing activities for Chinese and African brand produdcts.”
China also supports the building of the African Continental Free Trade Area and will continue to hold free trade negotiations with interested African countries and regions. In addition, China will set up relevant mechanisms to promote e-commerce cooperation with Africa.
Launch a green development initiative
China has decided to undertake 50 projects for green development and ecological and environmental protection in Africa to expand exchanges and cooperation with Africa on climate change, ocean, desertification prevention and control, and wildlife protection.President Jinping said a China-Africa environmental corporation center will be set up and more policy dialogue and joint research on environmental issues will be conducted.
The China-Africa Green Envoys Programme will also be implemented to strengthen Africa’s human capacity for environmental management, pollution prevention and control, and green development. A China-Africa bamoboo center will also be established to help Africa make bamboo and rattan products. China will also work with Africa to raise public awareness of environmental protection.
Launch a capacity building initiative
China promises to share more of its development practices with Africa and support cooperation with Africa on economic and social development planning. According to President Jinping, 10 Luban Workshops will be set up in Africa to provide vocational training for young Africans. China will also support opening of a China-Africa innovation cooperation center to promote youth innovation and entrepreneurship. A tailor-made programme will also be carried out to train 1 000 high caliber Africans.
China will also provide Africa with 50 000 government scholarships and 50 000 training opportunities for seminars and workshops, and will invite 2 000 young Africans to visit China for exchanges.
Launch a health care initiative
China has decided to upgrade 50 medical and health aid programmes for Africa, particularly flagship projects such as the headquarters of the African Centre of Disease Control and Prevention and China-Africa Friendship Hospitals. According to President Jinping, exchanges and information cooperation will be carried out on public health. Cooperation programmes will be launched on the prevention and control of emerging and reemerging communicable diseases, schistosomiasis, HIV/AIDS and malaria.
China is also expected to train more medical specialists for Africa and continue to send medical teams that better meet Africa’s needs. More mobile medical services will be provided to patients for the treatment of cataract, heart disease and dental defects. Targeted health care services will also be provided to women and children of vulnerable groups in Africa.
Launch a people-to-people exchange initiative
China has decided to establish an institute of African studies to enhance exchanges with Africa on civilisation. The China-Africa Joint Research and Exchange Plan will be upgraded. Fifty joint cultural, sports and tourism events will be organized. China also welcomes Africa’s participation in the Silk Road International League of Theaters, the Silk Road International Museum Alliance and the Network of Silk Road Art Festivals.
A China-Africa media cooperation network will be established. More African culture centers will be opened in China and more Chinese cultural centers in Africa. “Qualified African educational institutes are welcome to host Confucius Institutes. More African countries are welcome to become destinations for Chinese tour groups.”
Launch a peace and security initiativeChina has decided to set up a China-Africa peace and security fund to boost cooperation on peace, security, peacekeeping and law and order. China promises to continue to provide military aid to the AU, and will support countries in the Sahel region and those bordering the Gulf of Aden and the Gulf of Guinea in upholding security and combating terrorism in their regions.
President Jinping said a China-Africa peace and security forum would be established as a platform for conducting more exchanges in this area. Fifty security assistance programmes will be launched to advance China-Africa cooperation under the Belt and Road Initiative, and in areas of law and order, UN peacekeeping missions, fighting piracy and combating terrorism.