FOCAC Beijing Summit: What to expect

03 September, 2018, 21:25 | Author: Sally Reid
  • S Buhari arrives Beijing for China Africa summit

President Muhammadu Buhari and his encouraged on Saturday morning arrived in Beijing, China, to participate in the 7th Summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation. Over the past five years, there were more than 100 activities on cultural exchanges and 200 cultural cooperation projects.

China lent around $125bn to Africa between 2000 and 2016, according to data compiled by the China-Africa Research Initiative at Washington's Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies.

It has already seen China loan billions of dollars to countries in Asia and Africa for roads, railways, ports and other major infrastructure projects. China will carry out 50 agricultural assistance programs, provide emergency humanitarian food aid amounting to 1 billion yuan (147 million USA dollars) to African countries affected by natural disasters, and send 500 senior agricultural experts to Africa.

China will also train 1,000 high-caliber Africans, provide Africa with 50,000 government scholarships, sponsor seminar and workshop opportunities for 50,000 Africans, and invite 2,000 African youths to visit China for exchanges.

African presidents in attendance include South Africa's Cyril Ramaphosa, Egypt's Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, Zambia's Edgar Lungu and Gabon's Ali Bongo. China defends continued lending to Africa on the grounds that the continent still needs debt-funded infrastructure development.

In May, African central banks, under the Macroeconomic and Financial Management Institute of Eastern and Southern Africa, (MEFMI) a regional establishment with members including EAC countries supported the introduction of the yuan as a reserve currency. "There are many valuables lessons that Africa can learn from china's impressive growth model, particularly in using its capacity and natural resources as a catalyst for growth".

Every African country is represented at the business forum apart from eSwatini, self-ruled Taiwan's last African ally that has so far rejected China's overtures to ditch Taipei and recognise Beijing.

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China has been Africa's biggest trading partner for the last nine years, with trade volume growing 14 per cent to US$170 billion last year.

"China and Africa: Toward an Even Stronger Community with a Shared Future through Win-Win Cooperation", read the theme of the summit which has resulted in the signing of dozens of agreements by African leaders with China.

Ramaphosa said Focac was introduced on the African people's right to determine their own future. He insisted that China will not impose its will on Africa despite a huge investment program.

Xi said China would support the continent in developing a single African air transport market and spoke of direct flights between China and Africa.

President Xi and South African President Cyril Ramaphosa will both chair a roundtable discussion, where Chinese and African leaders will discuss China-Africa relations as well as global and regional issues of common concern.

It is the only African state to maintain diplomatic ties with Taiwan. Aside from Mauritius, no other African country has an Free Trade Agreement with China.

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