At the beginning of 2024, China and Africa are ready to enhance their long-standing friendship by honoring a fine diplomatic tradition for the 34th year.
Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, also a member of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China Central Committee, is paying visits to Egypt, Tunisia, Togo and Cote d’Ivoire from Jan. 13 to 18.
Carrying on a 34-year-old tradition since 1991, the African continent has been the destination for the first overseas visits made by Chinese foreign ministers each and every year.
China, the world’s largest developing country, and Africa, the continent with the largest number of developing countries, have supported each other over the years, creating a unique path of mutually beneficial cooperation.
The relationship between China and Africa has consistently reached new heights, entering a phase of developing a high-level China-Africa community with a shared future.
In August 2023, during the China-Africa Leaders’ Dialogue, Chinese President Xi Jinping proposed the Initiative on Supporting Africa’s Industrialization, and expressed willingness to implement the Plan for China Supporting Africa’s Agricultural Modernization and the Plan for China-Africa Cooperation on Talent Development, so as to boost Africa’s integration and modernization.
Over the years, China has assisted African countries in industrialization and development, ensuring they won’t be left behind in the world’s modernization process.
Landmark projects from the Zambia-China Economic and Trade Cooperation Zone, China-Egypt TEDA Suez Economic and Trade Cooperation Zone, to the Djibouti International Free Trade Zone, from Ethiopia’s Eastern Industrial Zone to the Hisense South Africa Industrial Park, as well as from the Tanzania-Zambia Railway to the Mombasa-Nairobi Standard Gauge Railway, the people of China and Africa are together modernizing their countries.
In recent years, African countries have embraced the digital economy as a new engine for development. In countries such as Nigeria and Kenya, mobile payment platforms built by Chinese-funded enterprises have provided tens of millions of users with safe and convenient digital payment services.
Zhang Xiangchen, deputy director-general of the World Trade Organization, said China has always maintained close ties with Africa and is a competent partner for it to develop its digital economy and achieve its modernization goals.
Agricultural modernization is also an important foundation for African countries to achieve independent and sustainable development.
Over the past decade, China has built 24 agricultural technology demonstration centers in Africa and promoted more than 300 advanced and applicable technologies, which have led to an average increase in local crop yields of 30 to 60 percent and benefited more than 1 million small-scale farmers in African countries.
Under the impetus of the Belt and Road Initiative, more and more African agricultural products such as Ethiopian coffee, Beninese pineapples, and South African pears are entering the Chinese market through the “green channel” for export to China. Several facilitation measures have contributed to the rapid growth of China-Africa agricultural trade.
The promotion of economic and social development and the enhancement of comprehensive national strength and international competitiveness ultimately depend on talent.
A batch of Luban Workshops have been set up in Egypt, Cote d’Ivoire, and Djibouti among others, which have contributed to the development of vocational education in Africa and have trained talents for economic and social development.
China has always stood shoulder to shoulder with the vast number of African countries in the process of promoting modernization. China-Africa cooperation has advanced with the times and deepened continuously, and both sides have achieved mutually beneficial development, playing a positive role in promoting the modernization process of their countries.
This year, the new session of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation will again be held in China. China and Africa joining forces to promote the cause of modernization will surely create a better future for the peoples of both sides and become a model for promoting the building of a community with a shared future.