The upcoming second ministerial conference of the Forum of China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC), to be held in Addis Ababa Dec. 15-16, is highlighted by the action-oriented spirit, and will greatly improve the all-around cooperation between the two parties, a senior Chinese diplomat has said.
This will be the first ministerial conference of the FOCAC to be held on the African continent, and will be a significant event in the Sino-African relationship, said Director General of the Department of African Affairs of the Chinese Foreign Ministry Du Qiwen, who is also secretary general of the Chinese Follow-up Committee of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation, during a recent interview with Xinhua.
Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao is expected to attend and address the Second Ministerial Conference of the FOCAC, and it will be Wen's first visit to Africa since he came to the post of Chinese premier.
Foreign ministers and ministers in charge of the international economic cooperation from China and more than 40 African nations that have established diplomatic relations with China will attend the gathering, according to Du.
A dozen of African heads of state or government have been confirmed to attend the meeting, also present will be 69 ministers and representatives of some international and regional organizations.
Du said, the main agenda of the conference is to review the implementation of the Beijing Declaration and the Program for China-Africa Cooperation in Economic and Social Development, two documents adopted during the first ministerial meeting of the forum held in Beijing in 2000, explore new initiatives and measures on the way toward Sino-African cooperation in such areas of priority as human resources development, agriculture, infrastructure development, investment and trade.
Under the theme of "Friendship, Cooperation and Development" and in an action-oriented spirit, the participants will hold extensive and in-depth discussion and exchanges on how to further promote the establishment of a new, stable and long-term China-Africa partnership of equality and mutual benefit and all-around cooperation, the senior diplomat said.
In order to promote the direct exchanges and cooperation between Chinese and African entrepreneurs, China and Ethiopia will jointly host a "China-Africa Business Conference" on Dec. 14-16, with more than 320 entrepreneurs representing leading Chinese and African companies have been confirmed to participate in conference.
Du said "it will be a pioneering work, we do it to arouse the enthusiasm of both Chinese and African companies. The forum will become a stage where industries are leading actors."
The 142 Chinese entrepreneurs to take part in the business meeting, the first of its kind between China and Africa, come from74 companies, such as China Road & Bridge Corp., ATE Corporation, Haier Group, and China National Offshore Oil Corp.
Du said that more than 180 business people from 24 African countries are to attend the conference and the number is still on the rise.
He said the business conference is mainly aimed at promoting trade and economic cooperation between China, the largest developing country in the world, and Africa, the world's least developed continent.
During the three-day meeting, the Chinese and African business people will discuss ways for increasing cooperation in investment and trade. They are expected to sign a number of contracts involving hundreds of millions of dollars.
The latest official statistics indicate that trade between China and Africa had increased to US$12.39 billion in 2002 from US$10.6 billion in 2000, and the figure for the first nine months of 2003 is US$13.39 billion, surpassing that of the whole 2002.
Chinese investors have already established 602 businesses in 49 African countries, covering such areas as trade, industry, and agriculture. Africans, including those from South Africa and Uganda, have also had their investment in China.
The first ministerial conference of the FOCAC was held in Beijing, capital of China, on Oct. 10-12, 2000. The conference reached a brad consensus about establishing a fair and just international political and economic order in the 21st century, and discussed how to promote Sino-African economic and trade cooperation.
The Beijing Declaration and the Program for China-Africa Cooperation in Economic and Social Development, the two official documents adopted in the meeting, lay the framework for China and Africa to build long-standing, stable and mutually beneficial new relations.
To strengthen the FOCAC mechanism and better implement its follow-up actions, the Chinese side established its FOCAC Follow-up Committee in December 2001, which is composed of senior officials from 21 ministries, commissions and agencies.
Some African countries, such as Ethiopia, Gabon, Zambia, and the Sudan, have also set up their own institutions from follow-up actions.
(Xinhua News Agency December 12, 2003)