Buhari Participates In China-Africa Cooperation Forum

Cyril Ramaphosa

The president was speaking at the Forum on China Africa Trade relations in Beijing on Monday afternoon. Over the past five years, there were more than 100 activities on cultural exchanges and 200 cultural cooperation projects.

"China does not interfere in Africa's internal affairs and does not impose its own will on Africa".

"It's hard to think of any country in Africa that has not been touched by China", he said, adding that China rejects the claim of "debt-trap diplomacy". Trade volume between China and Africa increased by 17 times between 2000 and 2017.

The program is part of Xi's broader Belt and Road Initiative, an ambitious $120-billion-plus project that aims to link 65 countries in Europe, Asia and Africa - together accounting for nearly two-thirds of the world's population - through infrastructure projects and trade.

It turns out, however, that a handful of African leaders preferred to remain at home to tackle other affairs at a time that the continent is nearly bereft of presidents.

Just in late August, Chinese mining firm Nonferrous China Africa launched production work for its greenfield project in Chambishi town in Zambia's Copperbelt Province, which was hailed by Zambian President Edgar Lungu as an example of serious investment.

Djibouti has become heavily dependent on Chinese financing after China opened its first overseas military base in the Horn of Africa country past year, a powerful signal of the continent's strategic importance to Beijing. China defends continued lending to Africa on the grounds that the continent still needs debt-funded infrastructure development.

On peace and security, Xi said China will set up a China-Africa peace and security fund and continue providing free military aid to the African Union. China's exports to Africa grew by 2.7 per cent to $94.74 billion, while its imports rose by 32.8 per cent to $75.26 billion.

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At the turn of the Millennium, on the proposal of African countries, a ministerial meeting of FOCAC was held in Beijing.

South African president Cyril Ramaphosa is now on a visit to China.

The Chinese president also announced the writing off of interest-free loans to indebted poor African countries.

"China and Africa: Toward an Even Stronger Community with a Shared Future through Win-Win Cooperation", read the theme of the summit which has resulted in the signing of dozens of agreements by African leaders with China.

"Industrialisation is the prerequisite and key point for African countries to create jobs, reduce poverty and improve livelihoods, and then achieve inclusive and sustainable development", Jiang said, adding that Chinese investment will help the continent to upgrade its industry and bolster endogenous growth capacity.

The summit will conclude with the signing of a declaration and an action plan, providing guidelines for China-Africa cooperation for the next three years. "We hope the ICC can prudently handle the relevant issue", Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying told reporters.

The FOCAC summit, that will be held at the Great Hall of the People, will be attended and addressed by United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and the African Union Commission Chairman Moussa Faki.

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