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China-Africa meet to flesh out co-ordination agenda
From Cape Times by Foreign Editor, Shannon Ebrahin on August 1,2016


SEVEN months after the landmark Forum for China-Africa Co-operation(Focac)Summit in Johannesburg in December last year,co-ordinators driving the implementation of the 10-point plan met in Beijing on Friday to concretise development plans of the China-Africa roadmap.

The plan was designed to address the main bottlenecks in Africa's development. The follow-up meeting in Beijing, which brought together co-ordinators from China, 51 African countries, and the African Union commission was indicative of China's commitment to implementing the programmes agreed on at the summit.

Chinese President Xi Jinping said on Friday that China and Africa must "stand shoulder to shoulder, and march hand in hand". Quoting a Chinese saying, Xi said: "The unity of two brothers gives them strength to cut through the metal."

The practical meaning behind these words is a commitment on China's part to work with African countries in their drive towards higher levels of industrialisation and beneficiation of their natural resources. It will also push ahead with its pledges to assist Africa in the development of high-speed railways,roads and air projects.

The Focac co-ordinators meeting proved highly successful,with participants agreeing to a number of themes including common development- whereby China and Africa will work towards greater intrustrialisation,diversification and intensive development--which will see greater infrastructure development, and the formation of indutrial parks and special economic zones.

Green development will ensure safeguards for the protection of environment, and safe development will see greater co-operation in peace and security to tackle the root causes of conflicts. China will also assist Africa in improving its capability to manage and resolve conflicts.

The meeting included 400 participants from government agencies, financial institutions, and business associations who discussed tangible business co-operation. Companies from China and Africa signed a total of 39 deals worth $17 billion(R126 bn).

These are impressive strides just seven months into the three year Focac roadmap and cycle of funding, which lasts until 2018. The co-ordinators also assessed the work achieved over the past seven months, and agreed that China and Africa have worked well together to overcome the negative impact of the sluggish world economy.

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