WINDHOEK, AUG. 31 – The Beijing Summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) will be held in Beijing, China, from 3 September to 4 September 2018, during which leaders from China and Africa will gather in Beijing to draw a blueprint for the China-Africa cooperation for the new era, under the theme of Toward an Even Stronger Community with a Shared Future through Win-Win Cooperation.
The summit was warmly welcomed by African countries, as so far more than 50 African heads of state or government including H.E. President Dr. Hage Geingob have confirmed their attendance. There is no doubt that the Beijing Summit will become another historic milestone of China-Africa relations, and will also set an extraordinary example among developing countries to deal with international relations.
The FOCAC has become an important platform for China and Africa to conduct collective dialogues and deepen friendship. It is also the world’s largest and most effective platform for South-South Cooperation. Since its establishment 18 years ago, featuring of equality, pragmatism and efficiency, FOCAC has kept up with times while adhering to long-term vision of China-Africa relations. Especially after the Johannesburg Summit in 2015, the FOCAC has been closely synergized with the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), and carried out comprehensive cooperation in the fields of politics, economy, finance, security, etc., to support the development of Africa.
The speed, experience and model of China’s development are becoming more and more well known in Africa, which provides guidance and references for African countries to explore a development path suitable to their own national conditions.
As a Comprehensive Strategic Cooperative Partner and an all-weather friend of China, Namibia has benefited a lot from pragmatic cooperation with China under the framework of FOCAC’s Ten Major China-Africa Cooperation Plans. Since Johannesburg Summit in 2015, an array of over 20 China-Aided projects have been completed or still going on, which widely covers the areas of infrastructure, agriculture, education, health care, etc. with a total of N$2.8 billion fund in grants or concessional loans provided by China.
Chinese Companies in Namibia have created 11,000 jobs so far, and have brought USD 30 million FDI to Namibia and have generated N$ 250 million tax revenue since 2016. The year 2017 recorded a robust growth of bilateral trade at a volume of USD 569 million, up by 30.93%. Overtaking South Africa, China has become Namibia’s largest export market in the first quarter of 2018, with a volume of N$3.4 billion which accounts for 18.3% of Namibia’s total export.
There will always be a further progress. For the past 3 years after the Johannesburg summit, there are new changes of international situation, new needs for the development of African continent, new expectations from African countries on China-Africa cooperation. In this regard, the Beijing Summit will, from a strategic and long-term perspective, formulate a top-level design for China-Africa relations, and introduce new measures to deepen China-Africa cooperation.
Firstly, the Beijing Summit will blow the opening whistle for China and Africa to build a community with a shared future, which will inevitably produce strong cohesiveness. Nowadays, there is a trend of unilateralism, protectionism and counter-globalism in the world, and the world economy is facing some new instabilities and uncertainties. Against this background, China and Africa will, through the Beijing Summit, demonstrate their commitment to deepen win-win cooperation and maintain multilateralism and Opening-up, by which China-Africa cooperation will surely become a great example for South-South cooperation.
Secondly, the Beijing Summit will conduct a new blueprint for the BRI cooperation between China and Africa, and promote the coordination of development strategies of China and Africa into a new high. Despite the differences between China and Africa in terms of national conditions and social-economic development, we are like-minded in striving to achieve development and prosperity. Although the BRI is initiated by China, it can never be a “solo” of China, but a “symphony” participated by the whole world. Africa shouldn’t be absent in the BRI cooperation, nor should Africa fall behind in the path of common development.
Just take one important achievement of the BRI cooperation, the Addis Ababa–Djibouti Railway, as an example. The transportation time between Addis Ababa and Djibouti is drastically reduced from 7 days by road to 10 hours by train, while the annual cargo capacity will reach 5 million tons and nearly 4,000 jobs have been created for the two countries. The Railway is effectively promoting the coordinated development of different countries in the region.
With its crucial geographical position, political and social stability and well-off infrastructure, Namibia has exceptional advantages in BRI cooperation. BRI cooperation will provide Namibia with a new path for poverty alleviation, job creation and solving other development problems.
Thirdly, the Beijing Summit will provide a historical opportunity for China and Namibia to deepen our Comprehensive Strategic Cooperative Partnership. It will be President Geingob’s second visit to China this year, after a successful State Visit to China in March, which fully reflects the close relationship between China and Namibia as Comprehensive Strategic Cooperative Partners.
What’s more, President Geingob will not only represent Namibia, but also the whole Southern African region as he is the Chair of SADC. SADC accounts for 27% of Africa’s population, 1/3 of the continent land, and more than 30% of the African GDP. With complete infrastructure, high degree of integration, and stable political environment, SADC has its potential to become a model of BRI cooperation and a forerunner in building a Community with a Shared Future for China and Africa. I believe that, under the leadership of President Geingob, the China-SADC cooperation will inject new momentum into China-Africa Comprehensive Strategic Cooperative Partnership.
As a Chinese ancient poetry states, “calm the tide is, right the time will be to ride the wind, and sail for a great journey.” Beijing will welcome African friends from afar with open arms, and China is looking forward to another rendezvous with Africa, the most dynamic continent in the world. Firm faith I have, that with the joint efforts of China and Africa, the Beijing Summit will be a complete success, and the Community with a Shared Future for China and Africa will enter into a new episode. – H.E. Zhang Yiming, Ambassador of China