The Seventh Meeting of China-Africa Think Tanks Forum, hosted by the Secretariat of Chinese Follow-up Committee of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) and jointly organized by Institute of African Studies of Zhejiang Normal University and Center for International Strategic Studies of Counsellors' Office of the State Council, convened on July 4-5 at the Diaoyutai State Guesthouse in Beijing.
Chen Xiaodong, Assistant Minister of Foreign Affairs, speaks at the Seventh Meeting of the China-Africa Think Tanks Forum (XIA YUANYUAN)
More than 380 representatives attended the forum, including diplomatic envoys from 44 African countries, government officials, think tank scholars and media representatives from 52 African countries, leaders of Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Counsellors' Office of the State Council and China-Africa Fund for Industrial Cooperation, scholars from Zhejiang Normal University and other well-known think tanks and universities, and reporters from media.
As an important part of the forthcoming FOCAC Beijing Summit, this meeting focused on the theme "China-Africa Relations Over the Course of Reform and Opening-up," which received wide attention and support from both China and Africa and was highly valued by all parties.
The opening ceremony was chaired by Jiang Guojun, Secretary of the Committee of Zhejiang Normal University of the Communist Party of China (CPC). During the ceremony, Jiang delivered a welcome address, which was followed by keynote speeches from Chen Xiaodong, Assistant Minister of Foreign Affairs, Zhang Yantong, Deputy Director of the Counselors' Office of the State Council, Victor Sikonina, Head of the African Diplomatic Corps in China and Madagascan Ambassador to China, Lu Lei, Deputy Administrator of the State Administration of Foreign Exchange, Merthold Monyae, President of Confucius Institute at University of Johannesburg, Justin Yifu Lin, Counselor of the State Council and Dean of the Institute of New Structural Economics at Peking University, and Mohammed Tawfik Mouline, Director of Moroccan Royal Institute for Strategic Studies.
The two-day meeting includes the Opening Ceremony, Plenary Session One, Parallel Panel Discussions, Plenary Session Two, and the Closing Ceremony.
Plenary Session One was chaired by Liu Hongwu, Dean of the Institute of African Studies of Zhejiang Normal University. The keynote speeches were delivered by Peter Kagwanja, President of African Policy Institute in Kenya, Li Xinfeng, Deputy Director of the Institute of West-Asian and African Studies of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, Stephane Ngwanza, Vice President of the Institute of International Relations of Cameroon, Xie Ping, Vice President of the Export-Import Bank of China, Joseph Sheku Margai, Member of the African Center of the China International Press Center and a senior journalist of Sierra Leone Concord Times, and He Maochun, Counselor of the State Council and Director of the Center for Economic Diplomacy Studies at Tsinghua University. These speeches reviewed the successful experience of China's reform and opening up from different perspectives, and concluded that Chinese experience bear implications and inspiration for the development of African countries.
The three Parallel Panel Discussions, centering on the topics of "40 Years of China's Reform and Opening up and the Development of China-Africa Relations," "Experience and Inspirations of China and Africa in the Independent Exploration of Development Paths" and "China-Africa Think Tanks and Media Cooperation: Strengthen the Effectiveness of Communication and Increase the Voice," will be moderated respectively by Shu Zhan, Former Chinese Ambassador to Eritrea and Rwanda and Senior Researcher with the Institute of African Studies of Zhejiang Normal University, Gaston Hakiza, President of National School of Administration of Burundi, and Zerihun Woldu, Vice President of Addis Ababa University in Ethiopia.
More than 380 representatives will participate in the Parallel Panel Discussions and analyze China's development experience, Africa's opportunities and challenges for achieving sustainable development, and the mutually complementary and mutually beneficial advantages between China and Africa in their independent development. They will also exchange ideas on the following issues: ways of promoting China-Africa cooperation in industrial capacity, infrastructure and agriculture, ways of increasing the voice of Asian and African countries in the international stage, the roles Chinese and African think tanks should play in political and economic development, and means of enhancing the communication and cooperation between China and Africa in the field of film, television and new media.
Plenary Session Two and the closing ceremony will be chaired by Dean Liu Hongwu, with the fruits of the forum summarized by Han Hongmei, President of China-Africa Fund for Industrial Cooperation, Charles Onunaiju, Director of the Center for China Studies of Nigeria, Yang Guang, Former Director of the Institute of West-Asian and African Studies of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, Fang Ning, Counselor of the State Council and Former Deputy Director of the Counselors' Office of the State Council. Zheng Mengzhuang, President of Zhejiang Normal University will address a closing speech.
With the support of Ministry of Foreign Affairs, China-Africa Think Tanks Forum was established by the Institute of African Studies of Zhejiang Normal University in 2011 and was officially incorporated into the framework of the FOCAC in 2012. It has become a fixed mechanism for China-Africa people-to-people dialogue, holding meetings each year in China and Africa in rotation. Since its establishment, six meetings have been successfully held, with fruitful outcomes achieved. It invites representatives from government departments, major Africa-related non-governmental organizations, academic institutions, universities, and enterprises in China and from famous universities, organizations and institutions in Africa. The forum has effectively promoted communication between scholars from China and Africa and improved their mutual understanding, offering suggestions for the development of Chinese enterprises in Africa and African enterprises in China, and contributing to the development of China-Africa relations under the new situation.