APAC Issue 9 2018

24 APAC / Issue 9 2018 , The 2018 Beijing Summit of the Forumon China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) convened on Sept. 3 and 4 in Beijing. Why China and Africa Have A Shared Future This latest summit is the third summit between Chinese and African leaders, 12 years after their last gathering in this city. The summit aimed to continue the work of building an even stronger community with a shared future between China and Africa. This is not just a slogan, but a reflection of the profound and solid historical and practical bonds between China and Africa. Historically, China and African countries worked together in the struggle for decolonization. China helped African countries build the TAZARA Railway, a transportation artery in southern Africa, while African countries supported China’s efforts to restore its lawful seat in the United Nations. The experience of standing together and supporting each other has become an important source of mutual recognition between the two sides. Since 1978, China has achieved remarkable achievements in the reform and opening up process. It has accumulated substantial funds, skills and experience for development. This has made China more motivated, willing and able to conduct cooperation with African countries. Therefore, in the new era, China and Africa are witnessing a shared future in terms of common development and prosperity. Currently, African countries are confronted with a series of obstacles in their development paths, such as insufficient funding, inadequate infrastructure and a lack of professional and skilled personnel. Intensifying the cooperation with China will greatly help African countries unblock the bottlenecks. By 2017, the total stock of Chinese investment and financing in Africa had exceeded US$110 billion, resulting in no less than 6,200 kilometers of railways, 6,500 kilometers of roads, 20 ports, 20 bridges, 80 power plants, 200 schools and 80 stadiums. Chinese investment and financing have also created at least 900,000 jobs in the continent. Such practical, effective and equal cooperation is the defining and distinctive feature of China-Africa relations. Building a community with a shared future between China and Africa does not mean that there are no problems in bilateral relations. Among the problems, some are structural ones that are hard to resolve in the short term, while some can be addressed through policy coordination and joint law enforcement. After the summit, the strength and quality of China-Africa pragmatic cooperation will be enhanced with specific project management, capital investment and the further refining of other aspects. As the Chinese saying goes, “devoted friends afar are not kept apart by distance.” Though far apart, China and Africa can push ahead with building a community with shared interests and a shared future as long as we care about each other’s development, uphold the principles of “sincerity, real results, affinity and good faith,” and jointly rise to challenges that occur in our cooperation. A community with a shared future between China and Africa is expected to be a shining example for building a community with a shared future for mankind.