Chinese-built Mombasa-The year 2017 saw China-Africa cooperation growing stronger, with major breakthroughs achieved in various sectors, including politics, business and trade, science and technology and people-to-people exchange. ChinAfrica has sele-cted the following as 10 of the most significant cooperative events of last year in chronological order:
1. Chinese FM officially visiting five African nations
Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari meets Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi
From January 7 to 12, Chinese Minister of Foreign Affairs Wang Yi paid his annual African visit to Madagascar, Zambia, Tanzania, Republic of Congo and Nigeria, at a time when China-Africa cooperation is going from strength to strength. The foreign minister's visit was in keeping with China's nearly three-decade-long diplomatic tradition of making Africa the first overseas destination by a foreign minister each year. Such a tradition signifies that "China always regards developing countries as the cornerstone of its diplomacy and Africa its priority," Wang said during the visit.
2. Chinese Embassy re-opened in Sao Tome and Principe
Wang Wei (right), Chargé d’affaires of Chinese Embassy in Sao Tome and Principe, and Urbino Botelho (left), Foreign Minister of Sao Tome and Principe, unveil the plaque of the embassy (CGTN)
On April 4, the Chinese Embassy in Sao Tome and Principe was re-inaugurated in Sao Tome. The re-inauguration of the Chinese Embassy marks a new era for the cooperation of the two countries. China attaches great importance to the relationship with Sao Tome and Principe and is willing to deepen all-round pragmatic cooperation with the country on the basis of the one-China principle and mutual respect for equality and mutual benefit.
3. China and South Africa people-to-people exchange mechanism inaugurated
Chinese Vice Premier Liu Yandong delivers a keynote speech at the inaugural meeting of the mechanism
The inaugural meeting of China-South Africa High-Level People-to-People Exchange Mechanism was held in South Africa's capital of Pretoria on April 24. Chinese President Xi Jinping sent a congratulatory message and noted that the launch of the mechanism will also consolidate the foundation for China-South Africa ties. The mechanism is imperative to push forward bilateral exchanges and cooperation in a wide range of areas such as education, culture, science and technology, health, youth, women, sports, think tanks, media and tourism.
4. Chinese-built Mombasa-Nairobi railway launched
Kenyan train drivers on the Mombasa- Nairobi SGR line
On May 31, Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta launched the passenger train service of the 480-km Chinese-built Mombasa-Nairobi Standard Gauge Railway, paving the way for the nation's industrialization efforts. The railway is Kenya's largest infrastructure project since gaining independence in 1963, with an investment of $3.8 billion. The line is expected to not only generate jobs in Kenya, but also promote regional economic development, as it connects neighboring countries and speeds up transportation in the region.
5. China, Africa to fight poverty together
On June 21, the China-Africa High-Level Dialogue and Think Tank Forum held in Ethiopia triggered discussions aimed at assisting African countries to design policies that will save millions of people from poverty. Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi has reiterated China's commitment to strengthening mutually beneficial cooperation in order to assist the continent to achieve sustainable development, and eliminate poverty as early as possible.
6. PLA logistics support base established in Djibouti
The Chinese Navy departs for Djibouti Logistics Support Base in July 2017
On July 11, the Djibouti Logistics Support Base was officially established by China's People's Liberation Army in Djibouti as a result of negotiations by China and Djibouti. The base is a logistical facility that will support the Chinese military's naval escort, peacekeeping and humanitarian missions in Africa and West Asia. It will also help China to improve its capabilities in terms of international military cooperation, emergency evacuation and overseas rescue. Moreover, the base will enable more efficient safeguard of international strategic maritime routes.
7. NDB Africa Regional Center launched in Johannesburg
South African President Jacob Zuma (right) and NDB chief K.V. Kamath at the launch ceremony
On August 17, the New Development Bank (NDB) launched its Africa Regional Center in Johannesburg, with South African President Jacob Zuma presiding over the proceedings. The NDB launch is testament to the commitment that BRICS and the NDB should benefit not only BRICS countries, but also Africa and the developing world as a whole. It is expected that the NDB, through the Africa Regional Center, will contribute to accelerating infrastructure investment in energy, transport, water supply and other productive sectors in Africa. In 2018, the NDB expects to announce about 20 projects in these sectors. The Africa Regional Center will undertake project identification and preparations.
8. China Africa International Film Festival launched
The first China-Africa International Film Festival was launched in the South African city of Cape Town on October 16. The festival included screenings of Chinese and African films, as well as roundtable discussions between Chinese filmmakers and their African counterparts. It encouraged cooperation in the film sector, and how to make Chinese and African films more available to respective audiences. The festival is expected to be an annual brand event held in October.
9. China-Africa Political Parties Theoretical Seminar held
On November 29, the Third China-Africa Political Parties Theoretical Seminar was held in Beijing, attended by 60 representatives of political parties from some 20 African countries. The experience of the Communist Party of China (CPC) in governance was worth learning about, according to many delegates from African political parties at the seminar. The seminar enabled multilateral communication on governing approaches and leadership between the CPC and African political parties.
10. Communication satellite launched for Algeria
Alcomsat-1 is launched from the Xichang Satellite Launch Center in Sichuan Province on December 11, 2017
China launched Algeria's first communication satellite, Alcomsat-1, into a preset orbit from the Xichang Satellite Launch Center in southwest China's Sichuan Province on December 11. The satellite was the first cooperative project in aerospace industry between the two countries. It will be used by Algeria for broadcast and television, emergency communication, distance education, e-governance, enterprise communication, broadband access and satellite-based navigation. The successful launch of Alcomsat-1 is a remarkable achievement in aerospace cooperation between Algeria and China.