JOHANNESBURG – As the two-day Forum on China-Africa Co-operation (Focac) kicked off in Beijing on Monday, President Cyril Ramaphosa refuted that China’s new interest in Africa and its plans to increase business ties and investment in the continent was a new form of colonialism

“In the values that it promotes, in the manner that it operates and in the impact that it has on African countries, Focac refutes the view that a new colonialism is taking hold in Africa, as our detractors would have us believe,” said Ramaphosa as he addressed heads of state from Africa, the UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and the Chinese leadership.

The South African president said tangible progress made over the last 18 years demonstrated the lasting benefit of Focac to the people of Africa and to the people of China.

“The relationship that we have forged through Focac is premised on the fundamental and inalienable right of the African people to determine their own future,” added Ramaphosa before explaining that this relationship was premised on the AU’s Agenda 2063, a vision that has been crafted in Africa, by Africans.

The vision for Africa is a continent where commerce, trade, investment, skills and knowledge move freely across the borders that were imposed on us by our colonial rulers, he said.

“We are working to build an Africa that is defined by good governance, democracy, respect for human rights, justice and the rule of law.”

Africa looked to China as a valuable and committed partner in advancing Agenda 2063 and in pursuance of this, the continent embraced China’s ‘Belt and Road’ initiative.

“We are confident that this initiative, which effectively compliments the work of Focac, will reduce the costs and increase the volume of trade between Africa and China,” stated Ramaphosa.

- AFRICAN NEWS AGENCY (ANA)