China-Africa Friendship Grows Stronger
On 4th January, 2021, the Sate Councilor and Foreign Minister, Wang Yi, started his foreign visits to five African countries including Nigeria, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Botswana, Tanzania and Seychelles respectively. The visits form part of a consecutive 31 year old long -standing tradition of the Chinese foreign ministers to begin every year with oversea visits particularly to African countries in order to further strengthen the ever-growing bond between the Peoples Republic of China and the African continent.
Over the last three decades or so, China has been at the center of almost all major developments in Africa and has no doubt, become the development backbone of the continent at large.
This year’s tour therefore resonates with China’s love for Africa in fostering development in the continent.
Just as it had been over the years, this year’s tour by the Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister, H.E Wang Yi, was not only very successful but also ended on a high note with great expectations. The tour also took greater significance than previous trips as the COVID-19 pandemic is still ravaging the world, with travel restrictions in force worldwide and global social and economic development hit badly.
The visit of H.E Wang Yi also further demonstrates that China continues to remain a true friend of African countries and China-Africa friendship emerges still stronger even in the face of COVID-19.
During his tour, the Chinese foreign minister articulated a seven-point proposition to upgrade the China-Africa Cooperation as he held talks with the Presidents, Foreign Ministers and other key stakeholders of the countries he visited which all gearing towards cementing the China-Africa Friendship that has been established way back.
The Foreign Minister also reiterates China’s policy of diplomacy which sees all countries whether big or small equal.
The China-Africa friendship was further elevated after going through the test of COVID-19 in 2020. President Xi Jinping and African leaders successfully held an Extraordinary China-Africa Summit on Solidarity against COVID-19, setting an example for international anti-pandemic cooperation. When China was fighting against the pandemic, African countries including the Republic of Sierra Leone were firm in their support to China’s efforts. To help African countries fight the pandemic, China has sent medical teams of 184 experts to 15 African countries, paired up Chinese and African hospitals, provided much-needed medical supplies to 53 African countries. Sierra Leone is one of the major recipients of such support. China is also conducting vaccine cooperation with Africa. The Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention headquarters as an assistance project by China has had its groundbreaking ceremony. China and Africa have scaled up the implementation of follow-ups to the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) Beijing Summit, with the health care initiative as a top priority. China has signed debt service suspension agreements with 12 African countries including Sierra Leone and provided waivers of matured interest-free loan for 15 African countries, suspended more debt service than any other G20 member. In the meantime, over 1100 Chinese cooperation projects have maintained operation in Africa, and a large number of Chinese technicians and workers held on to their positions in Africa.
The year 2020 also marked the 20th anniversary of FOCAC. Over the past two decades, China and Africa have formulated and implemented Ten Cooperation Plans and Eight Major Initiatives. With China’s help, over 6,000 kilometers of railways, 6,000 kilometers of roads, nearly 20 ports and over 80 large power plants have been built in Africa. Two-way trade has grown by 20-fold and China’s direct investment in Africa 100-fold. China has also expanded cooperation with Africa in new business forms like digital economy, smart city, clean energy and 5G, thus boosting high-quality development of Belt and Road cooperation between the two sides.
‘’The year 2021 will witness wrapping up efforts to implement the outcomes of the FOCAC Beijing Summit. During this visit, State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi held in-depth exchange and coordination with relevant authorities of the host countries, promote implementation of the important consensus reached by President Xi Jinping and African leaders and the outcomes of the FOCAC Beijing Summit and the Extraordinary China-Africa Summit on Solidarity against COVID-19. H.E. Wang Yi will discuss with the African side on how China will continue to support African countries in combating the virus and achieving economic recovery, advance Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) cooperation and build a closer China-Africa community with a shared future.
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