"I once again saw an Africa that is beautiful and richly endowed," said President Xi Jinping at the opening ceremony of the 2018 Beijing Summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC). Referring to it as "the land of great promise," Xi noted that he has visited the African continent nine times. Four of his visits have taken place as head of state of the People's Republic of China.
His remarks to African leaders in their various capacities laid out a concrete plan for the partnership between the 2.5 billion people of China and Africa. Funding and cooperation in business, tourism and climate change will be prioritized. He also addressed the concerns of both sides that the engagements will be amicable and in line with the African Union's Agenda 2063 and the United Nations' 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
The FOCAC mechanism initiated in 2000 is based on common development, aiming to create modestly prosperous, equitable, and happy societies. Today China ranks as the second largest economy in the world. Its socioeconomic development is unprecedented in history and it has shared its success throughout the world, least of all with Africa.
Many infrastructure projects under the Belt and Road Initiative framework are under construction, bringing about stability and inspiring innovation. "We are firm in our conviction that peace and development remain the underlying trend of our times. Indeed, they are the call of the times," said Xi.
Joint responsibility, leveraging of each other's strengths and people-to-people exchanges are key to the cooperation apparatus of FOCAC. It is leading the rejuvenation of Africa and China in a complementary fashion as we enter a profound era in which the well-being of people in all countries has never been so closely intertwined as it is today.
(The author is the founding editor of The Diplomatic Society, South Africa)