A number of diplomats are expressing optimism that Africa’s collaboration with China through the Forum for China – Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) framework will usher in a new era of economic and social development.
Top diplomats from both sides reckon that FOCAC is a platform that will stimulate growth in the developing nations of the continent, given the progress registered since its inception in 2000.
Envoys consider the 2015 summit in Johannesburg, South Africa, a turning point as relations between China-Africa entered a new point in history following numerous undertakings made at the summit.
It is here that Chinese President Xi Jinping, re-affirmed China’s commitment to Africa, declaring FOCAC as the most concrete development plan between China and Africa.
The Chinese leader announced a financial package of USD 60 billion to aid initiatives that would spur Africa’s renaissance. The fund targeted areas of industrialization, agriculture, modernization, infrastructure, finance, green development, trade and investment facilitation, poverty eradication and people’s well-being, people to people and cultural exchanges as well as peace and security.
Looking at the progress made so far, Chinese Ambassador to Kenya Sun Baohong believes FOCAC is an important mechanism that will deliver tangible benefits to the African people.
“In the coming years, we will further coordinate the resources of Chinese enterprises, media, Confucius Institutes, the overseas community in Kenya and Chinese tourists, and continue to build the cooperation platforms of the Sino-African Joint Research Center and Chinese Culture Center.” She said
In her maiden speech when she took up the office in Nairobi in May, Sun noted that “FOCAC has delivered hope and opportunity to both sides.” These opportunities are becoming a reality, she said.
Sun says the upcoming FOCAC summit, to be held in Beijing in September is crucial, as it will bring significant contributions to the future development of China-Africa relations.
“The event is extremely important. Under the current international situation, leaders from China and African countries again will gather in Beijing to discuss friendship cooperation, jointly build up the China-Africa community of shared future and investigate paths and measures to intensify the construction of the Belt and Road Initiative,” she said.
Her sentiments resonate well with those of Ambassador Christopher Chika, the director of the Asia and Australasia directorate of Kenya’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
He holds the view that FOCAC is particularly important in the realization of innovation and technology transfer from the world’s second largest economy to the continent.
“Our ambition is that our economy should be technology-driven. So any cooperation that will help us upgrade our skills and transfer technology is very welcome. There is no doubt we have to work on it because that is what will make our economy grow faster and generate jobs that we need for our large number of young people.” He said
The two envoys lauded the program as one that facilitates collective dialogue and pragmatic cooperation between China and Africa.