(China Daily/Cai Meng)
The Second Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation was held in Beijing from Thursday to Saturday. As the highest platform for international cooperation under the framework of the Belt and Road Initiative, the forum saw wide participation from the international community, including African countries.
Africa is the continent with the largest number of developing countries. By upholding the banner of unity and cooperation, Africa adopts an independent approach to international and regional issues. It actively promotes industrialization, agricultural modernization, urbanization, and economic development and transformation, as well as the free movement of commodities, services, capital and people. All are aimed at realizing the African dream of building an integrated, prosperous and peaceful continent.
Africa boasts a historical position in the initiative. In the past, Chinese tea, porcelain and culture were transported along the Maritime Silk Road to Africa, which had strengthened people-to-people friendship and facilitated exchanges among civilizations. Passing on the spirit of the Silk Road is still relevant, since China and Africa have undergone tremendous changes. A bright future lies ahead for cooperation under the BRI framework.
The BRI was put forth by China and discussed with Chinese and African policymakers. Cooperation under the BRI adheres to the spirit of the ancient Silk Road of openness, inclusiveness and mutual learning, and pursues consensus and cooperation through consultation and dialogue. Facts are more than enough to prove that Chinese and African joint planning to create synergies is providing dynamism to the steady development of the BRI in Africa.
China is working hard to link its development strategy with the African Union's Agenda 2063 and the United Nations' 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development to promote policy coordination and facilitate connectivity, financial integration and people-to-people affinity, an endeavor widely appreciated by Chinese and African peoples.
At the 2018 Beijing Summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation, Chinese and African leaders reached important consensus on joining hands in the BRI and decided to use FOCAC as a platform to give full play to China-Africa cooperation in the BRI.
The BRI needs to be built by pooling Chinese and African efforts. The BRI is not China's solo show, but rather a choir involving African countries as well. It advocates accommodating varying ideas and equal treatment, in addition to promoting ideas of common, secure and open development.
China has signed BRI memorandums of understanding with 37 African countries and the AU to promote cooperation in industrial capacity, infrastructure and trade facilitation, making the BRI a bridge of cooperation between China and Africa. Moussa Faki Mahamat, the chairman of the African Union Commission, said Africa-China relations have found the right direction.
The BRI focuses on development shared by the people and sticks to the principle of win-win. True development leaves no one behind. Chinese and African development strategies are highly compatible and complementary. Chinese experiences and technologies can contribute to improving people's welfare and quickening Africa's pace of industrialization and modernization.
Africa's economic revitalization will create a bigger market and more investment opportunities for China-Africa cooperation. In recent years, China has undertaken numerous projects facilitating African integration and connectivity, including the Mombasa-Nairobi Standard Gauge Railway, the Addis Ababa-Djibouti Railway and other projects such as roads, bridges, airports, seaports and industrial parks. China is willing to share the dividends of development and openness with Africa and provide more opportunities for Africa's development.
The Second Belt and Road Forum is a new cooperation platform for China and Africa to jointly build the BRI. As we step up efforts to implement achievements adopted at the FOCAC Beijing Summit and the BRF, China and Africa need to give full play to their comparative advantages, strengthen overall planning and identify cooperation areas, key programs and implementation mechanisms.
We need to implement a series of major projects in order to give fresh impetus to China-Africa win-win cooperation and common development. The Chinese Mission to the African Union works to promote the indigenization of the BRI to generate concrete results and build the BRI into a road of peace, prosperity, openness and innovation.
(The author is the Head of Mission of the People's Republic of China to African Union)
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