Addis Ababa – The upcoming summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) in Beijing, China, will serve as a platform for China and Africa to build on the existing cooperation in peace and security, infrastructure and industrialisation, a senior official of the African Union (AU) has noted.
In an interview with Xinhua in Addis Ababa, the AU Commissioner for Trade and Industry Albert Muchanga, said FOCAC is a mechanism whereby China and Africa strengthen cooperation in different areas and in win-win situations.
The FOCAC Beijing summit, scheduled for Monday and Tuesday, will run under the theme, “China and Africa: toward an even stronger community with a shared future through win-win cooperation.”
Reiterating that the two sides are cooperating on issues related to peace and security, infrastructure and industrialization among others, Muchanga said the upcoming summit will move bilateral cooperation to a new level.
“FOCAC is a mechanism where Africa and China have agreed to cooperate in the framework of win-win cooperation; and this is founded in a lot of areas, peace and security, issues of infrastructure development which we talked about and issues of industrialization.
“So, when we are meeting in the coming few days in Beijing, China to look at the next step of cooperation between the two, we agree on list of priorities we are going to engage in the coming few years,” he said.
Reiterating that the FOCAC summit comes at a time when a number of countries tend to be inward looking, the commissioner said, ” we are looking at FOCAC as a mechanism where Africa and China will affirm the importance of the multilateral trading system.”
Noting an interdependence among countries, he said, “we assure prosperity among countries.”
The commissioner said the spirit of the upcoming summit is very good that China and Africa are going to build on the existing cooperation so that they move it to the next level and to be more positive.
Expressing belief that the summit will be successful, the AU Commissioner for Social Affairs Amira Elfadil, who is also acting Chairperson of the AU Commission, told Xinhua recently that the preparation for the summit has been well.
Speaking of the China-proposed Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), the commissioner said it complements Africa’s efforts in developing infrastructure to connect the countries on the continent so as to enable them to move goods and services faster.
Access to modern and efficient infrastructure promotes production, and thereby attracts investments, which in turn leads to more personal incomes, he said this when commenting on the BRI’s significance to the African development.
Citing the Ethiopia-Djibouti railway and other similar projects on the continent, Muchanga said the BRI is “most welcome” in Africa.
“The Belt and Road Initiative comes to complement our efforts as Africa is developing infrastructure to connect the countries of Africa as way of making it possible for them to move across Africa more speedily,” he said.
“So, it is most welcome. And when you have got infrastructure you will move goods more efficiently, more speedily; you are promoting greater production.
“So, investments will come in. So, they the two are related. And when there is efficiency and productivity, it means that the incomes goes up,” he noted.
“The Belt and Road Initiative is not just for promoting the development of infrastructure across Africa, it is also going to boost production,
“it is also going to raise incomes of Africans, and we welcome it,” the commissioner added.