China-Africa Ties: Summit To Deepen Cooperation

President Paul Biya will today 3 September, 2018 join 53 other African leaders who have arrived in Beijing for the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC).

Heads of State from most African countries and other world dignitaries are today in the Chinese capital, Beijing meeting to fine-tune areas of friendship and cooperation which they have sought to foster over one decade now.

The Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) which is in its third session this year will have as theme, “Winwin Cooperation and Join Hands to Build a Closer Community with Shared Future for China and Africa.”

Preparations for today’s opening ceremony intensified over the weekend with the arrival of leaders from some 53 African countries including the Cameroon Head of State, President Paul Biya and wife, Chantal who arrived in Beijing by midday on Friday 31 August, 2018.

Accompanied by a high-level delegation of Ministers and business operators, Mr Biya will today participate at the summit discussions which officially open by 4:30 P.M. Beijing time, (11:30 P.M. in Cameroon).

The official opening ceremony at the Great Hall of the People is expected to be marked by a speech from the Chinese President, Xi Jinping, the current President of the African Union, Paul Kagame, the Secretary-General of the United Nations, Antonio Guterres, the African Union Commission President, Moussa Faki Mahamat. Today’s event will end with a dinner in honour of the guests present in Beijing with highlights of the evening being a Keynote speech by the Chinese leader and the co-chair of the summit President Cyril Ramaphosa of South Africa.

Some 27 other dignitaries from across the globe have also been invited for the summit. To underline the desire to foster industrialisation, trade cooperation and infrastructural development which are central to the FOCAC, the Chinese leader and the co-chair of the FOCAC will as from 10 to 11:45 A.M. today preside at the high-level dialogue grouping representatives of the business and trade milieu, and the conference of Chinese entrepreneurs which will take place at the China National Convention Center.

The preponderant role for the business operators at this Summit ties with the win-win partnership between China and Africa that has been pegged among other values on the five-year-old “Belt and Road Initiative” that focuses on a vast project of railway, ports, roads and infrastructural project powered by China in Africa with full collaboration from African leaders.

The FOCAC came into existence following a Ministerial Conference in Beijing from 10-12 October, 2000 to engage in consultations on equal bases, deepen mutual understanding, broaden consensus, strengthen friendship, and promote cooperation between China and Africa.

As both parties agreed to establish a monitoring mechanism to regularly follow up the set goals, the first Ministerial Consultation meeting of FOCAC took place in Lusaka, Zambia in 2001 and adopted a procedure for the “FOCAC Follow-up Mechanism” which went operational in 2002. With the intensification of relations between China and Africa, both parties agreed to raise the Third Ministerial Conference held in November 2006 in Beijing to the level of a summit.

Since the Ministerial Conference meets alternately in Africa and China, the 6th Ministerial Conference in December 2015 in South Africa was another summit level grouping of Heads of State and Government from Africa and the Chinese leader.

The hundreds of delegates from Cameroon and other African countries who will be joining their Heads of State and government at the current FOCAC are coming with viable development and business projects which they have to partner with their Chinese partners to build a better future for the peoples of China and Africa.

This view has been evident in the various audiences that President Xi Jinping granted to all his august guests over the weekend in Beijing prior to today’s summit. It is hoped that by the time all the officials end discussions in China tomorrow 4 September 2018, the Sino-African ties would have gone another step higher .

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