Strengthening ties and enhancing cooperation are the key areas in focus as the 8th Ministerial Conference of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) kicked off in Senegal’s capital Dakar on Monday.
Speaking at the opening ceremony, Senegal’s President Macky Sall said Africa and China want to further their common ambition of achieving shared prosperity.
The strength of the FOCAC lies in friendship, solidarity, trust, and respect, he said.
Sall said the forum’s five priority areas are health, security, agricultural modernization, technical and vocational training, and infrastructural and industrial development in Africa.
“We must continue to pursue our vision and ambitions for the future to deepen the China-Africa partnership and promote sustainable development to build a community with a shared future,” he said.
China’s President Xi Jinping, in his address via video link, hailed the “everlasting spirit of China-Africa friendship and cooperation … which features sincere friendship and equality, win-win for mutual benefit and common development, fairness and justice, and progress with the times and openness and inclusiveness.”
He said the two sides have jointly prepared the China-Africa Cooperation Vision 2035 that has nine main components: medical and health initiatives, poverty reduction and agricultural development, trade promotion, investment promotion, digital innovation, green development, capacity building, cultural exchange, and peace and security.
Stressing that the COVID-19 pandemic remains an immediate threat, he announced that Beijing will provide another 1 billion vaccine doses to Africa, including 600 million doses as donation and 400 million doses through joint production by Chinese companies and African countries.
China will also undertake 10 medical and health projects in African countries, apart from sending 1,500 medical personnel and public health experts to the continent, he said.
“China will never forget the profound friendship of African countries and will remain guided by the principle of sincerity, real results, amity and good faith and the principle of pursuing the greater good and shared interests,” Xi asserted.
“China will work together with African friends to promote and carry forward the spirit of China-Africa friendship and cooperation from generation to generation.”
President Felix Tshisekedi of the DR Congo, who is also the current chairperson of the African Union (AU), also addressed the event via video link.
Through constructive and sincere dialogue, the FOCAC will evaluate the progress made and define the main objectives of China-Africa cooperation for the coming years, he said.
He added that the forum will strengthen solidarity between all stakeholders in the face of major global issues such as socioeconomic development, climate change, and security and stability.
Established in 2000, the FOCAC has 55 members, comprising China, 53 African countries, and the AU Commission.