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Implementation of the Follow-up Actions of the Fourth Ministerial Conference of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation
2012/07/18

Over the past three years since the Fourth Ministerial Conference of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) was convened, the Chinese side and the African side earnestly implemented the Sharm el Sheikh Action Plan (2010-2012), actively carried out various follow-up actions, and vigorously deepened the new type of strategic partnership between China and Africa featuring political equality and mutual trust, economic win-win cooperation and cultural exchanges.

I. China-Africa political exchanges and cooperation, mutual support in international and regional affairs, and political mutual trust have all deepened.

1. China and Africa have enjoyed more frequent of high-level visits. Since Premier Wen Jiabao's participation in the Fourth Ministerial Conference in Sharm el Sheikh and visit to Egypt in November 2009, Chinese leaders who have visited Africa include Chairman Wu Bangguo of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress; Chairman Jia Qinglin of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference; Li Changchun, member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee; Vice President Xi Jinping;  member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee and Secretary of the Central Political and Legislative Commission. Within the past three years, 32 heads of state and government, 17 vice presidents or deputy prime ministers and 10 speakers from the African side have visited China or attended events in China such as the World Expo and the Universiade. Chinese and African leaders also met on multilateral occasions such as UN General Assembly or G20 Summit.

The Chinese Foreign Minister has a tradition of making Africa the destination of his first overseas visit every year. He has visited altogether 16 African countries over the past three years. Foreign Ministers from 33 African countries have visited China. Twelve special envoys of President Hu Jintao or the Chinese government have participated in celebrations of independence anniversary, presidential inaugurations, and the celebration of the establishment of the Republic of South Sudan.

2. China and Africa have enhanced various form of consultation and dialogue. In September 2010, Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi, the foreign ministers and representatives of 42 African countries and Chairperson of the African Union Commission held the second political consultation in New York on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly and reached broad consensus. At the bilateral level, China held the fourth meeting of National Bilateral Council with South Africa, strategic dialogues or Foreign Ministry political consultations with nine African countries, and Joint Economic and Trade Committee meetings with 18 African countries.

3. Exchanges between legislatures, political parties and local governments have deepened. The National People's Congress of China has maintained close contact with the parliaments of African countries. NPC Chairman Wu Bangguo and six NPC Vice Chairpersons madevisits to Africa. Ten speakers, one deputy speaker and 12 delegations of parliamentary standing committees have visited China or attended international meetings in China. China has established high-level regular exchange mechanisms with South African and Egypt.

Political parties from China and African countries expanded experience-sharing on public governance issues. Members of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee, including Liu Yunshan, Li Yuanchao, Liu Qi and Wang Gang, have visited 13 African countries. China received 54 African political party delegations for visits or study tours in China.

China-Africa exchanges and cooperation between localities have become more dynamic. During the last three years, China and Africa established 13 pairs of sister provinces/cities. Two sides held four Seminars on Local Government Cooperation.

China and Africa have increased cooperation and exchanges in judicial and consular fields. China has established consular consultation mechanisms with South Africa, Egypt, Senegal and Nigeria. China-Africa legal exchanges have been institutionalized. The first and second FOCAC Legal Forum were held in Egypt and China respectively.

4. China's cooperation with the African Union and African sub-regional organizations has strengthened. China and the African Union has enjoyed frequent high-level visits. Chairman Jia Qinglin of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference attended the opening ceremony of the 18th ordinary session of the Assembly of the African Union and the dedication ceremony of AU Conference Center built with Chinese assistance in January 2012. This was the first time for a Chinese leader to attend the opening ceremony of the AU Summit. Chairperson Jean Ping, Deputy Chairperson Erastus Mwencha and some AU commissioners have made visits to China. The China-AU strategic dialogue mechanism has been operating well and the two sides have launched the diplomatic policy consultation mechanism. In the field of pragmatic cooperation, China provided RMB30 million yuan of aid to AU in 2011. The AU Conference Center built with Chinese assistance was completed and handed over to the AU in January 2012, which marked a new milestone in China-African friendship. China has held two seminars and provided many multilateral training opportunities for AU officials, in diplomacy, public administration, anti-terrorism and poverty reduction. China has promised to provide NEPAD with US$1.5 million of cash aid for the training of nurses and midwives, and the money is being channelled in several installments. In the field of peace and security, China has provided the AU with RMB30 million yuan of military grants first in 2010 and then in 2011, and provided a total of US$ 1.2 million of cash aid for the AU mission in Somalia in 2010 and 2011.

China has strengthened cooperation with African sub-regional organizations. The rotating Chair of SDAC Namibian President Hifikepunye Pohamba and President James Victor Gbeho of the Commission of ECOWAS paid visits to China. China held the first political consultation with the Secretariat of SDAC, established a joint economic and trade committee with the EAC, and held economic, trade and investment forums with SDAC and ECOWAS.

5. China has supported and taken an active part in building peace and security in Africa. China supports AU and African sub-regional organizations' efforts in to settle disputes and restore stability, places importance on the aspirations of African countries and regional organizations to independently safeguard national and regional peace and security, and supports the idea and practice of "African solutions to African problems".

China has expanded participation in UN peacekeeping missions in Africa. With almost 1,500 peacekeepers from China on the ground in Africa, China is the largest contributor of peacekeepers among the five permanent members of the UN Security Council.According to the spirit of UN resolutions and at the invitation of the Somali government, China has sent out 11 batches of naval fleet to the Gulf of Aden and waves off the Somali coast for escort missions, provided protection for more than 4,700 ships in 457 fleets from different countries, and successfully rescued 43 ships from pirates.

6. China and Africa have enhanced cooperation on issues relating to each other's major interests and in major international and regional affairs. China has all along supported African countries' independent choice of development path and opposed interference of foreign forces in African countries' internal affairs. On issues related to Taiwan, Tibet, Xinjiang and human rights, which bear on China's sovereignty, territorial integrity and national dignity, African countries have always firmly supported China's position and propositions.

In times of severe natural disasters, China and Africa offered a helping hand to each other. In the aftermath of the devastating natural disasters in Yushu and Zhouqu, many African countries expressed sympathy and condolences and helped with disaster relief work in different ways. China provided food assistance to African countries with food shortage owing to natural disasters. In 2011, China twice provided emergency food and cash aid totalling worth RMB443.2 million yuan to the Horn of Africa. This was the largest amount of food assistance offered since the founding of the People's Republic of China. In 2012, China channelled more food assistance to many countries in the Sahel region.

During high-level exchanges and on multilateral occasions, China and Africa have maintained communication, coordination and cooperation on such global issues as the reform of the United Nations, the international financial crisis, climate change, Doha Round negotiations, development, human right, and combating piracy. Both sides have worked together to uphold the legitimate rights and interests of developing countries.

China has, as always, spoken out for Africa's interests and development on many international occasions. By taking an active part in global economic governance, China has helped safeguard the interests of developing countries including African countries and address the economic imbalance between the North and the South.

On African hotspot issues such as those concerning Sudan, Cote d'Ivoire and Libya, China has borne in mind the overall interests of peace and stability in Africa, adopted an objective and just position, and called on all parties to solve the disputes through dialogue and negotiation. In the United Nations Security Council and other multilateral arena, China has enhanced coordination and cooperation with African countries and carried out good offices and humanitarian assistance through bilateral and multilateral channels.

II. Good progress has been made in implementing the eight new measures, and China-Africa practical cooperation has enjoyed comprehensive development.

1. The two sides have enhanced policy dialogue and practical cooperation on climate change. China has, on many occasions, sent senior officials including the special envoy for climate change negotiations to African countries to exchange views. During the Cancun Conference, the Durban Conference, the Ministerial Consultation of BASIC countries and other related negotiations and conferences, China has maintained dialogue and consultation and coordinated position with African countries to uphold the common interests of the developing countries.

With a view to improving African countries' abilities to adapt to climate change, China has implemented 105 clean energy projects in African countries.

2. China has worked to raise the level of scientific and technological cooperation with Africa. Following the Fourth Ministerial Conference of FOCAC, China launched the China-Africa Science and Technology Partnership Plan, which aims to promote technology transfer to Africa and expand the sharing of scientific achievements. The China-Africa Scientific and Technological Cooperation Roundtable was held in Egypt at the end of 2009. China conducted 88 joint research and demonstration projects with African countries. China received 42 African post-doctoral students and donated research equipment to returning African researchers who have concluded their joint research tasks in China.

3. China has made concrete efforts to fulfill its promise of building up Africa's financing capacity. By May 2012, China has approved concessional loans totaling US$11.3 billion for 92 projects, larger than the promised amount. These loans will mainly go to infrastructure and social development projects in Africa.

China Development Bank set up a special loan for the development of small and medium-sized businesses in Africa totaling US$1 billion, and US$966 million has been promised for 38 projects. China has canceled interest-free government loans that have matured by the end of 2009 for all heavily indebted poor countries and least developed countries in Africa having diplomatic relations with China.

4. China opened its markets wider to African products. All the 30 least developed countries in Africa having diplomatic ties with China enjoy zero-tariff treatment for 60% of their exports to China, covering 4,762 items. Thanks to this policy, African exports to China grew rapidly, reaching US$93.2 billion in 2011 and representing an increase of 39% year on year. From January to April 2012, African exports to China reached US$38.21 billion and an increase of 24.1% from the corresponding period of 2011.

5. China scaled up agricultural cooperation with Africa. In the past three years, China has built five new agricultural technology demonstration centers for Africa, which increases the number of a such centers built in Africa to 20. These have become an important platform for sharing modern agricultural technology with Africa. China has sent 50 agricultural technology teams to African countries.The China-Africa Agricultural Cooperation Forum was held in Beijing in August 2010. The two sides had in-depth discussions on how to further strengthen China-Africa cooperation on agriculture and food security under the new circumstances.China actively supports the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization in carrying out agricultural development projects in Africa and is steadily meeting the US$30 million donation pledge to the FAO Trust Fund. China has also sent more than 700 agricultural experts to eight African countries under the FAO Special Program for Food Security.

6. China has steadily advanced health cooperation with Africa. China has dispatched 42 medical teams to African countries. There are 1,067 Chinese medical personnel in Africa now. China has provided medical equipment, materials and medicines to 30 hospitals and 30 malaria prevention centers in Africa and has sent 13 malaria prevention teams to 27 African countries.

7. China has further strengthened human resources development and educational cooperation with Africa. In the past three years, China has trained 24,000 African professionals in various fields, including 1,500 headmasters and teachers, 3,000 agricultural experts and 3,000 doctors and nurses.

China has built 19 new schools in Africa and provided equipment to 42 schools. In the 2010 and 2011 academic years, China provided 5,710 and 6,316 scholarships in various forms to African countries. The China-Africa Universities 20+20 Cooperation Program was launched, and 20 pairs of Chinese and African universities conductedcooperation projects. China has opened four Confucius Institutes in Africa. There are now 29 Confucius Institutes or Confucius Classrooms in 22 African countries.

8. China has actively implemented the China-Africa Joint Research and Exchange Program. Since its inception in March 2010, the program has supported Chinese and African think tanks and academic institutions in organizing 14 international seminars, sponsored more than 500 Chinese and African scholars for field trips and academic exchanges, and supported 28research projects. Zhejiang Normal University held the first Forum for Chinese and African Think Tanks under the exchange Program. China Development Bank set up a special fund to support academic exchanges between China and Africa.

III. China-Africa cooperation in the economic and social field has flourished.

1. China has further increased assistance to Africa. China has provided assistance to African within its capacity, with an emphasis on improving livelihood and helping countries address their immediate difficulties. China has built 113 projects for African countries, given 137 tranches of material supplies and 13 tranches of cash aid and undertaken 66 technological cooperation projects.

2. China's investment in Africa has grown rapidly. In 2011, China's direct investment in Africa reached US$1.7 billion, representing an increase of 59%. By the end of April 2012, China's direct investment in Africa has exceeded US$15.4 billion in total. Chinese investment in Africa has been increasing rapidly, with China investing in more fields by more flexible and diversified means. Africa has become the fourth largest investment destination for China.

The China-Africa Development Fund has been operating smoothly. The investment of US$1 billion, which is the fund's first phase, has been completed. An increase of US$2 billion, which is the fund's second phase, has been implemented and investment is being carried out. Up to now, the fund has committed to invest in 60 projects in 30 African countries, with a promised investment of US$2.183 billion. Six overseas economic and trade cooperation zones have been established by China in Zambia, Egypt, Mauritius, Nigeria and Ethiopia, and many competitive Chinese enterprises have made investment in these zones.

3. Trade between China and Africa has enjoyed strong growth. Since 2009, China has become the largest trade partner for Africa. The trade volume between China and Africa in 2011 reached a record of US$ 166.3 billion, an increase of 31% year on year. From January to April 2012, the trade volume between China and Africa reached US$ 60.83 billion, an increase of 19.5% year on year. To accelerate the development of trade, the two sides have scaled up cooperation in customs, taxation, inspection and quarantine, logistics and marketing. Since the Fourth Ministerial Conference of FOCAC, China has signed agreement with Zambian on the avoidance of double taxation, and signed agreements on quality inspection with seven African countries.

4. The Conference of Chinese and African Entrepreneurs is an important platform for dialogue and cooperation between Chinese and African business community. In November 2009, the third Conference of Chinese and African Entrepreneurs was convened and contracts worth US$2.85 billion was signed. The contracted projects has been implemented actively. As an official event of the fifth Ministerial Conference of the FOCAC, the fourth Conference of the Chinese and African Entrepreneurs will be convened on 18-19 July 2012. Chinese and African business communities are looking forward to more results of cooperation from the conference.

5. China and Africa have enjoyed steady cooperation in finance, transportation, communication and tourism. In 2010, the People's Bank of China contributed US$129 million to the African Development Fund, and subscribed to US$730 million worth of shares in the capital increase of the African Development Bank. Chinese financial institutions expanded their African businesses on the basis of reciprocity. Bank of China, for example, has established business links with 154 agent banks in Africa. In July 2012, the 19th board meeting of the African Export-Import Bank was hosted by the Export-Import Bank of China, the first board meeting entrusted by the African Export-Import Bank to be hosted by the board member outside of Africa. The China-Africa Finance Cooperation Forum was convened during the meeting, which provided a good opportunity discussing financial cooperation.

China has signed inter-governmental air transport agreements with 16 African countries. Two Chinese Airlines and eight African airlines have been approved to open scheduled flights between China and Africa. China contributes US$100,000 annually to the International Civil Aviation Organization's Comprehensive Regional Implementation Plan for Aviation Safety in Africa.

Up till now, 28 African countries have become approved destinations for Chinese group tourists. The number of two-way tourists has increased rapidly with marked rise in the number of Chinese tourists visiting Africa.

IV. China-Africa cultural exchanges have been fruitful and China-Africa friendship has been enhanced.

1. China-Africa cultural exchanges and cooperation have grown rapidly, featuring a host of flagship programs such as "Cultures in Focus". During "African Culture in Focus" activities in 2010 and 2012, African artists presented spectacular performances and exhibitions to the Chinese people. During the "2011 Chinese Culture in Focus", more than 130 projects were conducted in over 30 African countries. In addition, cultural exchanges and dialogues, both intergovernmental and people-to-people, have been strengthened. There have been 21 exchanges of ministerial-level cultural delegations and China has signed cultural agreements or implementation plans with 15 African countries. Through the China-Africa exchange of visits program in the cultural field, cultural and art professionals from the two sides have conducted more exchanges and cooperation.

In June 2012, the first Cultural Ministers' Forum of the FOCAC was convened in Beijing. Attended by cultural ministers and representatives from China and 45 African countries, it marked the establishment of the China-Africa cultural strategic dialogue mechanism.

2. Youth and people-to-people exchanges have become more frequent. The first and second China-Africa Young Leaders Forum was held in Namibia and Beijing respectively, which symbolizing the establishment and institutionalization of youth exchanges and cooperation platform. The young generation will play a more active role in passing on the China-Africa traditional friendship. Over the past three years, China has sent 137 youth volunteers to Ethiopia, Tunisia, Ghana and other African countries.

In August 2011, the first China-Africa People's Forum, which was held in Nairobi proposed the three principles of "enhancing people-to-people friendship, facilitating pragmatic cooperation and promoting world peace" for exchanges and cooperation between Chinese and African NGOs. The second China-Africa People's Forum, as an official side event of the fifth Ministerial Conference of the FOCAC, was held in Suzhou, China on 10-11 July 2012. The China-Africa People's Forum provide a bridge of regular exchanges between NGOs of the two sides, demonstrating "People's Voice, People's Friendship and Cooperation for the People".

Over the past three years, together with NGOs from South Africa, Zimbabwe, Malawi and Mozambique, China launched public welfare campaigns such as cataract treatment, HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment and in-kind donations. Chinese enterprises and expatriates have also been actively involved in Africa's social and public welfare programs, playing a positive role in Africa's educational development, medical service, social relief and disaster prevention and control.

3. Africa actively supported China in hosting the World Expo 2010 Shanghai. Fifty African countries, the African Union and some African sub-regional organizations participated in the Expo, and national leaders and foreign ministers from 43 African countries attended Expo-related events. The unique charm of the African Joint Pavilion and national pavilions of many African countries attracted over 20 million visitors from China and abroad. They were among the most popular pavilions at the Expo.

V. The institutions of FOCAC have been further improved.

In the past three years, FOCAC has shown a sound momentum of comprehensive, coordinated and sustainable development, with efficient and smooth operation of dialogue and consultation mechanism. The second China-Africa foreign ministers' consultation and the eighth SOM was held successfully and reached expected results. The Secretariat of the Chinese Follow-up Committee have held about 10 consultations with the African Diplomatic Corps in China and maintained effective communication, coordination and cooperation on the implementation of the follow-up actions of the Fourth Ministerial Conference and preparation for the fifth Ministerial Conference.

On 9 July 2011, China and South Sudan established diplomatic ties and South Sudan became a new member of FOCAC family. In October 2011, the eighth SOM of the FOCAC decided to accept AU Commission as a formal member, which further expanded the representation of the African side in the FOCAC.

With the encouragement and support of both sides, the sub-forums under the framework of FOCAC have made enormous progress. Sub-forums on agriculture, science and technology, law, financing, culture, think tanks, youth, people-to-people exchanges and women have been set up, some of which have been institutionalized. These sub-forums have broadened the scope, enriched the substance, and enhanced the vigor of China-Africa cooperation. The FOCAC's role in guiding the comprehensive development of China-Africa relations has become more prominent.

 

 

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