African leaders hail Xi's commitment to cooperation, BRI

By Guo Yiming
0 Comment(s)Print E-mail, September 4, 2018
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Chinese President Xi Jinping and foreign leaders pose for a group photo ahead of the opening ceremony of the Beijing Summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, capital of China, Sept. 3, 2018. [Photo/Xinhua]

African leaders participating in the ongoing Beijing Summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) have applauded Chinese President Xi Jinping's commitment towards cooperation with the continent and the benefits that the Belt and Road Initiative brings.

President Xi on Monday said China will implement eight major initiatives with African countries in the next three years and beyond, covering areas such as industrial promotion, infrastructure connectivity, trade facilitation, and green development, as well as provide new funding of US$60 billion to the continent.

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa said he welcomed the announcement made by President Xi of the new FOCAC initiatives which, he said, will have a significant and lasting impact on peace, stability and sustainable development on the African continent.

Paul Kagame, President of Rwanda and rotating Chairperson of the African Union, gave a strong endorsement of the FOCAC framework, which, he said, has "grown into a powerful engine of cooperation."

He added that he is glad the initiative has opened up new pathways for cooperation, such as in the areas of environmental protection as well as people-to-people exchanges.

Kagame said Africa wishes to be an integral part of the China proposed Belt and Road Initiative. He added that through this initiative, Africa hopes to improve project management, increase participation of the African private sector and improve connectivity to the global market through a partnership with China, which he considers a win-win partner and sincere friend.

During the opening ceremony of the FOCAC Beijing Summit, President Xi said China supports African countries as they jointly embark on the development of the Belt and Road Initiative. He further called for the alignment of the Belt and Road construction with the implementation of the African Union's Agenda 2063, the United Nations' 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development as well as the development strategies of various African countries.

"Africa is an extension of the Belt and Road development historically and naturally, and is an important participant in the initiative," Xi said when addressing the High-Level Dialogue Between Chinese and African Leaders and Business Representatives on Monday morning.

China does not attach any political strings to its investment in Africa under the Belt and Road Initiative, neither does it interfere in African countries' internal affairs nor impose its demands on others, he noted.

Ramaphosa said the initiative, which effectively complements the work of FOCAC, "will reduce costs and increase the volume of trade between Africa and China" as well as "encourage the development of Africa's infrastructure, a critical requirement for meaningful regional and continental integration."

Moussa Faki Mahamat, chairperson of the African Union (AU) Commission, praised China's support for Africa and urged the two sides to further align their development efforts. He stressed the importance of this, especially in the current global political climate, which he said is fraught with worrying trends such as the rise of unilateralism.

Faki said the eight initiatives and 60 billion U.S. dollars of assistance Xi announced "is concrete proof of China's support to Africa." Faki stressed that the African Union welcomes the Belt and Road Initiative and both sides "need to further create synergy between the AU's Agenda 2063 and the Belt and Road Initiative."

The chairperson also said the AU is actively committed to multilateralism that is characterized by mutual assistance and generosity. "China-Africa cooperation is a solid foundation for a new international order," Faki noted.

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