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China-Africa Cooperation Enters a New Stage and Implements a New Plan
H.E. Zhang Yiming, Chinese Ambassador to Namibia
2022-01-21 21:40

The 8th FOCAC Ministerial Conference was successfully held in November 2021. Both China and Africa agree that due to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic and changes in the global development pattern, the world has entered a new period of development and China-Africa cooperation has also entered a new stage. In this light, China and Africa had jointly prepared the China-Africa Cooperation Vision 2035. In the first three years of the Vision, China will work closely with African countries to implement nine programs in healthcare, poverty reduction and agriculture, trade promotion, investment, digital innovation, green development, capacity building, people-to-people exchanges, and peace and security, with the aim to foster internal growth drivers in African countries. I would like to take this opportunity to share with our readers the key components of the nine programs.

I. The medical and healthcare program. To help the African Union achieve its goal of vaccinating 60% of the African population by 2022, China will provide another one billion doses to Africa, including 600 million doses as donation and 400 million doses to be provided through such means as joint production by Chinese companies and relevant African countries. In addition, China will undertake ten medical and health projects for African countries, and send 1,500 medical personnel and public health experts to Africa.

Covid-19 response. China recently decides to donate another 1.2 million dozes of Covid-19 vaccines to Namibia. China will continue to provide vaccines to Africa and to explore the joint production of vaccines and to gradually extend into research and production of vaccines against other infectious diseases so as to increase Africa’s vaccine self-reliance.  

Healthcare assistance. China will complete the phase one project of the headquarters of African Center for Disease Control, and implement healthcare assistance projects, including building or upgrading hospitals, and providing medical supplies and facilities. China will continue to promote partnerships between hospitals in China and Africa and the construction of China-Africa Friendship Hospitals. China will promote cooperation with Africa in traditional medicines, and carry out disease control projects against malaria, schistosomiasis, and HIV/AIDS, among others.

Medical cooperation. China will dispatch more public health experts to provide mobile medical services to treat such diseases as cataract and congenital heart disease in Africa. The counterpart cooperation between the Traditional Chinese Medicine Hospital of Zhejiang Province and Walvis Bay State Hospital is in good progress.

II. The poverty reduction and agricultural development program. China will undertake ten poverty reduction and agricultural development projects for Africa, and send 500 agricultural experts to Africa. China will set up a number of China-Africa joint centers for modern agrotechnology exchange, demonstration, and training in China, encourage Chinese institutions and companies to build Africa demonstration villages for China-Africa cooperation on agricultural development and poverty reduction.

Livelihoods assistance. China will implement five agricultural cooperation projects and build five agricultural technology promotion bases for Africa, provide emergency food and other forms of humanitarian assistance to African countries in need, provide pesticides and medical instruments, irrigation facilities and technical assistance to African countries suffering from locust plague and drought. When needed, China will also send locust control experts to help Africa minimize disaster loss.

Poverty reduction cooperation. China will support the construction of poverty reduction demonstration villages in Africa by availing of its own experience in poverty eradication.

Technology support. China will send 500 senior agricultural experts to Africa in the coming three years, continue to implement the Young Agricultural Scientists Leadership Program, provide training and degree/diploma education opportunities for African agricultural technicians in China.

III. The trade promotion program. China will open “green lanes” for African agricultural exports to China, speed up the inspection and quarantine procedures, further increase the scope of products enjoying zero tariff treatment for the least developed countries (LDCs) having diplomatic relations with China, in a bid to reach 300 billion US dollars in total imports from Africa in the next three years. China will provide 10 billion US dollars of trade finance to support African export, and build in China a pioneering zone for in-depth China-Africa trade and economic cooperation and a China-Africa industrial park for Belt and Road cooperation. China will undertake 10 connectivity projects for Africa, form an expert group on economic cooperation with the Secretariat of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), and give continued support to the development of the AfCFTA.

Expanding trade. China will further increase imports from Africa and support Africa in improving the value added and export competitiveness of African products.China will take active and well-conceived steps to push for the export to China of fruits, nuts, soybeans, meat and other products of Africa’s interest.China is the largest trade partner of Namibia. The two countries have reached an agreement to expand the export of Namibia’s beef and sea products to China, and they are currently exploring to expand the export of more agri-products such as grapes to China.

Supporting the building of infrastructure and connectivity. China will undertake projects on roads, bridges, airports, ports and security check equipment, among others, to enhance infrastructure connectivity in Africa and facilitate trade. The construction of China-aided airport road 2B project connecting HKIA and Windhoek has started.

Developing trade promotion platforms. China will continue to support its financial institutions in providing 10 billion US dollars of short-term trade finance according to market principles in the next three years to boost African exports.  Hunan Province and Zhejiang Province will jointly develop a China-Africa Belt and Road industrial park to carry out industrial cooperation and trade innovation.

IV. The investment promotion program. China will encourage its businesses to invest no less than 10 billion US dollars in Africa in the next three years, and will establish a platform for China-Africa private investment promotion. China will undertake 10 industrialization and employment promotion projects for Africa, provide credit facilities of 10 billion US dollars to African financial institutions, support the development of African SMEs on a priority basis, and establish a China-Africa cross-border RMB center. China will exempt African LDCs from debt incurred in the form of interest-free Chinese government loans due by the end of 2021. China is ready to channel to African countries 10 billion US dollars from its share of the IMF’s new allocation of Special Drawing Rights.

V. The digital innovation program. China will undertake 10 digital economy projects for Africa, set up centers for China-Africa cooperation on satellite remote-sensing application, and support the development of China-Africa joint laboratories, partner institutes, and scientific and technological innovation cooperation bases. China will work with African countries to expand Silk Road e-commerce cooperation, hold online shopping festivals featuring quality African products and tourism e-commerce promotion activities, and launch a campaign to market 100 African stores and 1,000 African products on e-commerce platforms.

Strengthening digital cooperation. China will undertake digital economy projects for African countries in such areas as communications networks, data centers and smart cities, guide and encourage businesses’ implementation of digital infrastructure projects in Africa. The construction of China-aided Project of Satellite Data Receiving Ground Station and Processing System in Windhoek is to start in 2022.

VI. The green development program. China will undertake 10 green development, environmental protection and climate action projects for Africa, support the development of the “Great Green Wall”, and build in Africa centers of excellence on low-carbon development and climate change adaptation.

Strengthening green cooperation. China will actively implement the China-Africa Green Innovation Program, enhance cooperation on environmental technologies, conduct cooperation on capacity building of addressing climate change. China will encourage Chinese enterprises to undertake clean energy projects in Namibia.

VII. The capacity building program. China will help build or upgrade 10 schools in Africa, and invite 10,000 high-level African professionals to seminars and workshops. We will implement “Future of Africa—a project for China-Africa cooperation for vocational education”, and start an employment “through train” scheme for African students in China. China will continue to work with African countries to set up “Luban Workshops”, and encourage Chinese companies in Africa to create at least 800,000 local jobs.

Building education facilities. The construction of China-aided Project of Rehabilitation and Expansion of Four Rural Schools in Kavango West and Zambezi Regions is to start in 2022.

Training all types of professionals. China will invite 10,000 high-level African professionals to seminars and workshops on such areas as public health, public management, poverty alleviation, rural support, environment, climate change, finance, trade, new technology application and industrial development. China will continue to cooperate with African countries to provide vocational training for local youths.In 2020-2021, a total of over 100 Namibians have been enrolled in Chinese universities and sponsored by the Chinese governments to pursue degree studies, and 118 Namibians attended nine training courses.

Creating job opportunities. China will implement the Future of Africa, a project for China-Africa cooperation for vocational education, under which Chinese and African vocational colleges jointly train technicians for Africa, primarily in construction, mechanics, electronics, electrical engineering, agricultural technology, information technology and other areas. Students will obtain certificates from the Chinese and African colleges as well as skill certificates granted by China and Africa upon graduation. China will organize the employment “through train” activities for African students in China every year to establish direct connections between African students and Chinese enterprises and support African students in working for Chinese enterprises after returning to their home countries. In the meantime, China will encourage Chinese companies in Africa to hire more local employees and keep enhancing localized operation in Africa.

VIII. The cultural and people-to-people exchange program. China will support making all African countries having diplomatic ties with China to be the approved destinations for Chinese tourist groups. We will hold African Film Festivals in China and Chinese Film Festivals in Africa.A China-Africa youth services forum and a China-Africa women’s forum will also be held.

Closer cultural exchanges. China will promote all types of China-Africa cultural exchanges when possible, publicize more quality Chinese films and TV dramas, cartoons, documentaries, science education films in Africa, and support African film and TV productions in entering the Chinese market.

Enhancing tourism cooperation. At present, 34 African countries having diplomatic ties with China have received Approved Destination Status for outbound Chinese tourist groups.Namibia was accorded the above Status in 2015, and received over 10,000 Chinese tourists each year prior to the Covid-19 pandemic.

IX. The peace and security program. China will undertake 10 peace and security projects for Africa, support African countries’ efforts to independently maintain regional security and fight terrorism, and conduct joint exercises and on-site training between Chinese and African peacekeeping troops and cooperation on small arms and light weapons control.

In the next three years, China will, based on the FOCAC platform, work with African countries to formulate implementation plans, finalize the list of cooperation areas and implement the cooperation projects, so that Chinese and African people may benefit from the implementation of the nine programs at an early date. China and Africa will bring their practical cooperation to a new height and foster new dimensions in their comprehensive strategic partnership, to make new contribution to the building of a China-Africa community with a shared future in the new era and a global community of development.

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