By Wan Yu, Jing Yue, Su Hang
China and Africa enjoy a profound friendship and deep mutual trust. They are good friends, good partners and good brothers.
China has remained Africa’s largest trading partner for 12 consecutive years. The bilateral trade between the two sides reached $139.1 billion in the first seven months of this year, up 40.5 percent year on year and hitting a historical high.
China’s industry-wide foreign direct investment in Africa reached $2.07 billion during the January-July period, outperforming the pre-pandemic level in the same period two years ago.
Since the 2018 Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) Beijing Summit, China and Africa have jointly implemented a large batch of projects that benefitted both Chinese and Africans and offered strong support for the economic recovery of Africa. China-Africa cooperation stands as a model of South-South cooperation, and a fine example of international cooperation with Africa.
Currently, the FOCAC African Products Online Promotion Season is being held. The three-month event aims at building new platforms for China-Africa cross-border e-commerce, as well as promoting China-Africa cooperation on digital economy and the diversification of trade forms. Thanks to the event, many high-quality African products, including oranges from South Africa, gems from Tanzania, and dried mangoes from Uganda, are being introduced online by livestreamers to Chinese consumers. China-Africa e-commerce cooperation is injecting impetus into Africa’s economic recovery.
Months ago, dried chili peppers planted and processed by Rwanda’s young entrepreneur Dieudonne Twahirwa entered the Chinese market after being quarantined, becoming the first African dried chili peppers to be exported to China. Twahirwa is currently planning to introduce breeding machines, planters and dryers from China, so as to produce chili pepper products of higher quality and make a name for African chili peppers in China.
Wu Peng, Director-General of the Department of African Affairs of China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs noted that it’s a win-win cooperation to promote African commodities on Chinese e-commerce platforms, which demonstrates the spirit of mutual benefit of the China-Africa pragmatic cooperation. China and Africa enjoy a huge potential in upgrading their economic and trade cooperation, Wu added.
Martin Mpana, Dean of the African Diplomatic Corps and Cameroonian Ambassador to China noted that promoting China-Africa e-commerce cooperation is one of the effective approaches to the revitalization of African economy. He said Africa should make full use of the online promotion season to build the business capability of young Africans and African entrepreneurs.
Elmuthna Fahel with Sudanese newspaper Alintibaha, who’s also an expert on international issues, said Africa and China are seeing an unprecedented growth in the demand for bilateral cooperation on economy and trade, which has enhanced the two sides’ confidence in their cooperation. The cooperation with China is indispensable for African countries including Sudan, he remarked, hoping that the cooperation between the two sides can go deeper in digital economy, marine economy and green economy.
Many African countries have received Chinese COVID-19 vaccines, including Lesotho, which obtained the doses donated by the Chinese government at the end of August this year. So far, China has offered and is offering COVID-19 vaccines for over 40 African countries and the African Union Commission, and is continuing supporting Africa to build the latter’s own capacity of vaccine production.
The construction of the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention headquarters office donated by China has officially commenced, and a relevant pair assistance mechanism between China and Africa is in the making.
Upholding the vision of building a global community of health for all, China adopts an open and cooperative attitude on the development, production and distribution of vaccines. It is actively promoting localized production of vaccines in countries that are well conditioned. On April 21 this year, an agreement signed by Chinese and Egyptian enterprises, allowing Egypt to manufacture COVID-19 vaccines locally.
Facing the challenges brought by COVID-19, many Chinese enterprises engaged in construction projects in Africa are still sticking to their work, bringing a light of hope to Africa’s economic recovery. In June, Guinea’s first modern railway since the 1970s, the Dapilon-Santou railway invested by a Chinese enterprise, officially started operation. In the following month, the first batch of units of the Kafue Gorge Lower Hydroelectirc Project in Zambia was commissioned. In August, a new terminal of Zambia’s Kenneth Kaunda International Airport, which was built by a Chinese company, was put into use.
At present, there are still many Chinese engineering technicians working in Africa, and 1,100 cooperation projects under the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) remain operational throughout the continent. They are a strong support for Africa’s resumption of work and production. So far, 46 countries in Africa and the African Union Commission have inked agreements with China to jointly advance the construction of the BRI.
Adhering to the principle of common development and promoting the stable development of pragmatic cooperation, China and Africa are implementing cooperation projects with higher standards to benefit the people. These projects will fuel Africa’s integrated construction and industrialization, and help the continent achieve independent and sustainable development.