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The all-in-one Focac fact file

Published Dec 4, 2015


#Focac: Johannesburg - The year 2015 marks 60 years since the Bandung Summit and the birth of Africa-Asia solidarity of which China-Africa relations have been among the most productive and comprehensive through the mutual focus on issues relating to global politics, economics, financial architecture and to articulate the interests of the Global South.

What is Focac?

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Focac was established in October 2000. It is an important platform for collective dialogue and an effective mechanism for enhancing practical co-operation between China and African countries. It is a successful example of South-South co-operation.

The Ministerial Conference, held once every three years, is a vital part of Focac.

Since the founding conference of Focac in 2000, the following action plans have been agreed on or implemented:

* Beijing Declaration of the Focac and Programme for China-Africa Co-operation in Economic and Social Development (2001-3).

* Addis Ababa Action Plan (2004-6).

* Focac Beijing Action Plan (2007-9).

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* Sharm el-Sheikh Action Plan (2010-12).

* Beijing Action Plan of the Fifth Ministerial Conference of Focac (2013-15).


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The First Ministerial Conference was held in Beijing in 2000. After the conference, China:

* Cancelled RMB10.9 billion of debts of 31 heavily indebted poor or least developed countries (LDCs) in Africa.

* Set up the African Human Resources Development Fund (AHRDF) and sponsored nearly 300 training courses.

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* Trained nearly 7 000 African professionals in diplomacy, economic management, national defence, agriculture, education, science and technology, culture and health.

Political relations, regional peace and security

* Chinese leaders visited Africa 20 times, and more than 30 top African leaders visited China.

* China supported the establishment of the AU and the implementation of the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (Nepad).

* China sent peacekeeping forces to the UN in the DRC and Liberia in 2003.

Economic relations

* China signed the Bilateral Investment Protection Treaty with over 20 African countries.

* It established Centres for the Promotion of Chinese Investment and Trade in 11 countries.

* The country set up 117 new enterprises in Africa.

* The volume of trade totalled US$18 545bn in 2003, an increase of 49.7 percent compared to the previous year and up 75 percent from 2000.

Social development

* China signed 245 new economic-assistance agreements.

* It exempted 156 items of debt of 31 African countries, totalling RMB10.5bn.

* The AHRDF trained 6 000 professionals and sent 500 specialists to Africa.

* It signed medical aid agreements with 40 African countries.

* China helped in preventing and treating Aids, malaria and pulmonary tuberculosis.

* In 2003 the country organised Environmental Protection in China for Africa in Beijing.

Cultural exchanges and co-operation

Egypt, South Africa and Morocco were granted Approved Destination Status (ADS) for Chinese citizens travelling abroad.


This was convened in December 2003 in Ethiopia.

After the conference, China:

* Signed 382 new agreements on financial assistance with African countries.

* Trained 12 600 professionals from African countries.

* Provided zero-tariff treatment to exports under 190 tariff items from 28 LDCs in Africa.

* Gave 17 African countries ADS.

The Meeting in Beijing International Arts Festival and the Voyage of Chinese Culture in Africa were held, and China-Africa youth festivals were held in Beijing.

Political relations, regional peace and security

* Thirty-four African presidents, prime ministers and vice-presidents visited China.

* China sent 435 Chinese personnel to Sudan to support UN peacekeeping in May 2006.

* China sent 1 273 peacekeeping personnel to Africa and participated in seven peacekeeping actions led by the UN.

Economic relations

* Chinese direct investments in Africa totalled US$1.595bn at the end of 2005.

* In 2005, bilateral trade volume reached US$39.8bn.

* Some 190 commodities from 28 African LDCs fell under the tariff-free policy.

Social development

* China established the Interdepartmental Co-ordinating Mechanism of Foreign Human Resources Development and Co-operation.

* It trained 7 600 Africans and sent experts to Africa.

* The Conference on China-Africa Environmental Co-operation was held in Nairobi.

* China published its African Policy Paper in 2006.

Cultural exchanges and co-operation

* China started to send volunteers to Africa.

* The Meeting in Beijing and Voyage of Chinese Culture to Africa (2004, 2006) were held.

* Seventeen African countries became destinations for Chinese tourists.


Chinese president Hu Jintao and the heads of state and government and high-ranking representatives of 48 African countries attended.

The summit proclaimed the establishment of a new type of strategic partnership between China and Africa featuring “political equality and mutual trust, economic win-win co-operation and cultural exchanges”.

Hu announced at the opening ceremony that the Chinese government would take eight policy measures to strengthen co-operation with Africa and support its development:

* Double assistance by 2009.

* Provide loans and credits totalling US$5bn.

* Set up a development fund which will reach US$5bn to encourage Chinese companies’ investment.

* Build a conference centre for the AU (handover early 2012).

* Cancel debt.

* Further open China’s market to African commodities.

* Establish three to five trade and economic co-operation zones.

* Train 15 000 African professionals, build 100 rural schools, dispatch 100 agriculture experts and 300 youth volunteers, build 30 hospitals and 30 malaria treatment centres, and increase scholarships for African students.

Besides these measures, which were implemented by the end of 2009, China:

* Opened 23 Confucius institutes and classrooms in co-operation with 16 countries.

* Sent 1 200 medical workers to 42 African countries, and provided medical devices worth RMB50 million.

* Held African Culture in Focus 2008 in China and Chinese Culture in Focus 2009.

* Established training and exchange centres for women in five countries, and materially helped female organisations of 14 African countries.

* Invited 500 young African people to visit that country and held the third China-Africa Youth Festival.

* Established 98 sister provinces/states or twin cities between China and Africa, and added nine countries to the list of ADS.

Political relations, regional peace and security

* Chinese officials visited 36 African countries and 36 African leaders visited China.

* The China-AU Strategic Dialogue began; China supported construction of the AU Conference Centre.

* China deployed 6 281 peacekeepers and police to Africa and four naval ships for escort duty in the Gulf of Aden.

Economic relations

* China established a bilateral mixed economic and trade commission with four African countries.

* The number of mutual investment protection agreements totalled 31.

* The China-Africa Development Fund was set up, investing more than US$500m.

* Six Chinese special economic zones were constructed.

* Trade reached US$106.8bn in 2008.

* A total of 478 commodities from 31 African LDCs enjoyed the tariff-free policy.

* More than 10 bilateral agricultural co-operation agreements were signed with African countries.

* China sent 100 senior agricultural experts to set up 10 agricultural centres in Africa.

Social development

* China doubled help by the end of 2009 from 2006.

* It cancelled debts owed by the 33 heavily indebted developed countries (HIDCs).

* China trained 15 000 African professionals, built 96 rural schools and gave teaching equipment to 30 schools.

* Sponsorship for African students increased to 4 000.

* It built 28 hospitals and 30 malaria prevention and treatment centres in Africa.

* It sent 1 200 Chinese medical workers to Africa.

Cultural exchanges and co-operation

* Fifteen African cultural delegations visited China; 20 Chinese groups visited Africa.

* China dispatched 281 youth volunteers to Africa.

* All China Women’s Federation established five women’s training/exchange centres.


This was held in 2009 in Egypt. Premier Wen Jiabao announced new China-Africa co-operation policy measures.

After the conference, China:

* Initiated the Africa Science and Technology Partnership Plan and China-Africa Joint Research and Exchange Plan.

* Signed framework agreements on concessional loans with some African countries, and signed exchange of letters with the majority of LDCs in Africa on increasing the tariff items under which exports receive zero-tariff treatment.

* Began debt-cancellation work.

* Signed exchange of letters and agreements with some African countries on sending agricultural technology teams and providing medical help.

* Started construction of agricultural technology demonstration centres and 50 China-Africa friendship schools, 100 clean-energy projects and small-sized well-digging projects for water supply etc.

* Kicked off African Culture in Focus 2010 activities.

* Launched the 20+20 Co-operation Plan for Chinese and African Institutions of Higher Education and held the China-Africa Modern Agriculture Co-operation Forum in Beijing.

Political relations, regional peace and security

* The first Focac Law Forum was held in Cairo in 2009.

* AU building was completed; AU became a Focac member.

Economic relations

* Thirty-three mutual investment protection agreements were reached.

* China signed the Avoidance of Double Taxation Agreement with 11 African countries.

* The volume of trade totalled $US126.9bn in 2010.

* Over 4 700 items, 95 percent of commodities, from Africa enjoyed tariff-free policy.

* China-Africa Agriculture Co-operation Forum held, 2010.

* China-Africa Science and Technology Partner Programme and Ceremony of Equipment Donated to African Researchers launched in 2009.

Social development

* China hosted the Eighth Meeting of the Foreign Aid in Education in Developing Countries and the launch of China-Africa Co-operation Programme of Universities 20+20 in Guangzhou in 2010.

* China built 100 clean energy projects.

Cultural exchanges and co-operation

* African Culture in Focus 2010 was hosted by China.

* The China-Africa Joint Research and Exchange Programme was launched.


Five new measures were announced at Beijing’s 2012 Fifth Ministerial Conference:

* Expanding co-operation in investment and finance to support sustainable development.

* Increasing help to Africa to bring the benefits of development to the continent.

* Supporting the African integration process and helping enhance development capacity.

* Enhancing people-to-people friendship to lay a solid foundation of public support for common development.

* Promoting peace and stability in Africa.

The Beijing Action Plan (2013-15) prioritised areas within the scope of Africa’s integration and development agenda, notably co-operation in agriculture, food security and poverty reduction; infrastructure development; science and technology; people-to-people exchanges; and regional peace and security. China and Africa agreed to sustain exchanges and co-operation to promote regional economic integration through Nepad.

With the China-Africa Development Fund scaled up to US$5bn as committed in the Beijing Action Plan (2013-15), the AU and sub-regional organisations need to collectively work together to focus on the areas of enhancing agricultural production and poverty reduction, industrialisation, science and technology development, transregional infrastructural development, regional peace and security and strengthening the process of exchanges and learning from the Chinese experience.

China-Africa relations and co-operation have witnessed vigorous development since the two sides in 2012 mapped out a three-year blueprint for co-operation in all areas.

Under the guidance of Focac, China and Africa have explored a unique path of co-operation. Both sides have maintained closer political contacts, co-operated in international affairs and deepened political trust.


China is working with South Africa to make the Focac meeting a grand gathering for strengthening China-Africa solidarity and charting out the future of their co-operation. South Africa, in turn, appreciates China’s long-term and tremendous support for the economic and social development of African countries and its understanding of African countries’ positions on major international issues.


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