BEIJING, Xinhua – The 2018 Beijing summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) which kicked off on Monday has opened a new chapter in Sino-African cooperation, experts in Africa have said.
“China-Africa cooperation is a win-win not just for China, but for the world,” Charles Onunaiju, director of the Center for China Studies in Abuja, Nigeria said in an interview with Xinhua. Onunaiju said the prospects of this year’s FOCAC are given greater value by the Belt and Road Initiative, “which is very important for Africa.” China offers the best option and a win-win situation for the African continent, said Yusuf Dodia, chairperson of the Private Sector Development Association in Zambia.”It is evident that China has become the best trading partner for the continent which must be embraced with both hands,” said Dodia.
The FOCAC is now emerging as an action-oriented forum and not a mere diplomatic and political forum and is strengthening Sino-African economic and development relations, said Gerrishon Ikiara, a senior lecturer on economics at the University of Nairobi. Chinese President Xi Jinping’s speech at the opening ceremony of the FOCAC summit is receiving widespread attention in Africa and worldwide, said Ikiara. Xi’s announcement that China will support African countries in joining the Belt and Road Initiative is highly significant for Africa’s infrastructural development in the coming decade, and will help Africa open up to the rest of the world, Ikiara added.
Once again, China has reiterated its commitment to win-win cooperation with Africa, and China is showing itself to be a genuine partner in the development of African countries, said Stephen Ndegwa, a public policy lecturer at the United States International University Africa based in Kenya. The “five-no” approach in relations with Africa announced by Xi in his speech at the FOCAC Beijing summit showed that China has chosen to let African countries chart their own course towards an African continent with its own social, economic and political identity, said Ndegwa. Africa’s infrastructure development plans will be heavily boosted by the China-proposed Belt and Road Initiative, said Dietrich Remmert, an analyst at the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) in Namibia.
The initiative, which aims to link different countries through modern railways, harbors and roads, will bring significant economic benefits to African countries, Remmert said. The initiative promotes green development, which is much needed in Africa’s development, he added. The Foreign Ministry of Libya’s United Nations-backed government said the FOCAC Beijing summit provides a great opportunity to enhance bilateral cooperation, relations and comprehensive strategic partnership between Libya and China.