JOHANNESBURG (HAN) December 3, 2015 – Public Diplomacy and Regional Stability Initiatives News. The Sixth Ministerial meeting of the Forum on China Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) was held in Pretoria, South Africa on Thursday (December 3) ahead of the two-day China-Africa FOCAC Summit in Johannesburg which is opening on Friday (December 4).

The Minister of Foreign Affairs of the People’s Republic of China, Wang Yi, presented an account of the implementation of follow-up actions on the Beijing Declaration and the Beijing Action Plan (2013-2015) adopted at the 5th FOCAC ministerial conference in Beijing in July 2012.

After the 5th FOCAC Ministerial conference, the Chinese government announced a package of new measures for cooperation with Africa in five key areas. These covered investment and financial cooperation, the African integration agenda, people-to-people relations, peace and security and development assistance.

The minister noted that China and Africa had deepened strategic and mutual friendship in all socio-economic and political areas. He said that there had been a number of high level political consultations and official visits which demonstrated the high political willingness and commitment of leaders from both areas.

Mr. Yi said that during the past three years more than 46 Heads of State or Government, 11 Speakers of Parliament, 22 Vice-presidents or Deputy Prime Ministers and 50 Foreign Ministers had visited China. He also noted Africa and China had supported each other on international issues of peace and security, development and climate change.

He said China had firmly supported African countries in choosing their own independent paths of development and stressed that FOCAC brought tangible progress to peoples of both areas. China had become the biggest trading partner of Africa and the China-Africa trade volume topped US$200 billion.

China had further opened its markets to Africa, providing zero-tariff treatment to 21 African countries. The Minister said that China had implemented partnership agreements in the areas of science and technology, education, the environment and natural resource conservation. During discussions it was also noted that during the past three years, China had offered US$31.52 billion in credit lines to African countries, exceeding its US$ 20 billion commitment.

Chinese investment in Africa has topped US$32.35 billion with over 3000 Chinese companies operating across the continent. Ethiopian Foreign Minister Dr. Tedros Adhanom said that FOCAC had become a platform for the new partnership between Africa and China and it had surpassed expectations.

The Minister pointed out that most of the targets had been successfully implemented. He underlined that Africa needed China’s firm support in its priority areas of industrialization, infrastructure development, food security, economic integration and in fighting terrorism.

The South African Minister for International Relations and Cooperation, Maite Nkoana-Mashabane, said that the FOCAC summit would elevate the Africa-China relationship to a new level. This would have an important and beneficial impact and give impetus to Africa’s agenda 2063 to help realize a prosperous, integrated and peaceful continent.

The participants at the ministerial meeting generally appreciated the strong commitment and willingness of China to work with Africa in all aspects. The ministers reviewed the implementation of the follow up actions on the Beijing Declaration and the Beijing Action Plan (2013-2015), describing these as fruitful.

They also discussed on the content of Johannesburg Declaration and Action Plan which will be adopted at the FOCAC Summit in Johannesburg during the next two days. MFA

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