Chinese Premier Li Keqiang meets with Burkina Faso's President Roch Marc Christian Kabore who is on a state visit to China and will attend the 2018 Beijing Summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC), in Beijing. Picture: Shen Hong/Xinhua
Today and tomorrow, the 3rd Forum on China-Africa Co-operation (Focac) Summit will be held in Beijing, where the leaders of China and Africa will come together once again to sketch out a new blueprint for China-Africa friendly and mutually beneficial co-operation, injecting new vigour and fulfilling the aspiration of the Chinese and African people for a better future for China and Africa.

Focac is a major platform of China-Africa collective dialogue, unity and co-operation established in response to the new development needs of China-Africa relations.

Over the past 18 years since its inception, Focac has established a set of comprehensive, practical and highly efficient mechanisms, which consist of ministerial meetings, senior officials meeting, China’s Secretariat of the Follow-Up Committee and the meeting mechanism of African ambassadors to China.

Focac convenes the ministerial meeting every three years to make new plans for China-Africa friendly and mutually beneficial co-operation.

The senior officials meeting is held yearly to facilitate co-ordination and implementation.

Over the years, through numerous visible and tangible co-operation outcomes, Focac has proved that it is not a talk shop, but a forum for action.

Today, Focac has already become a flagship that spearheads the co-operation of the international community with Africa. Equality and mutual trust, practical results and high efficiency, and win-win co-operation are the defining features of Focac, as well as the common pursuit of all Focac members.

Focac is committed to supporting African countries as they achieve self-sustainable development. It is our strong belief that if Africa is not independent economically, it is impossible to be independent politically. Without economic development, it is impossible to escape poverty and conflict.

To achieve self-sustainable development, African countries need to break through three bottlenecks, namely backward infrastructure, lack of professional and skilled personnel, and a lack of capital sources.

Who can help Africa resolve those problems, who is the true friend of Africa?

In December 2015, during the Focac Johannesburg Summit, Chinese President Xi Jinping and African leaders jointly opened up the new era of China-Africa win-win co-operation for common development.

Xi announced Ten Major Co-operative Plans with $60billion of financial commitment to support African industrialisation and agricultural modernisation. These efforts have effectively supported Africa to overcome the bottlenecks.

The China-Africa co-operation in the new era is no longer about cutting an equal share of the “cake” for everyone. Instead, those who are ready first will benefit first, and the most.

China-Africa mutually beneficial co-operation in the new era will no longer be restricted to development aid, but will be based on the principle of “government guidance, businesses being the major actors, market operation and win-win co-operation”.

Over the years, Focac has achieved numerous visible and tangible benefits for our peoples. China-Africa trade has increased from just more than $10bn in 2000 to $170bn last year. Chinese investment in Africa has soared from less than $1bn in 2000 to more than $100bn.

To date, China has helped finance and build for Africa 6500km of railways, 6200km of roads, 20 seaports, 20 bridges, more than 80 power plants, more than 200 schools and 80-plus stadiums. Since 2016, China has provided over 10 000 government scholarships to African countries per year. These efforts have greatly boosted Africa’s capacity building, making unique and important contribution to Africa’s pursuit of self-sustainable development.

Themed “China and Africa: Toward an Even Stronger Community with a Shared Future through Win-Win Co-operation”, the Focac Beijing Summit is expected to adopt the Beijing Declaration and the Beijing Action Plan (2019-2021).

The summit will not only make comprehensive plans for China-Africa co-operation for the next three years, but also further align the summit’s theme with the Belt and Road Initiative, the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the AU’s Agenda 2063 and the development strategies of individual African countries.

More efforts will be made and more measures will be taken to support African countries in capacity building, infrastructure connectivity, industry co-operation, green development, trade facilitation, public health, people-to-people exchange, peace and security, and international co-operation. We are full of confidence that the Focac Beijing Summit will further strengthen Africa’s capacity for self-sustainable development, promote stronger China-Africa win-win co-operation for common development, and bring more benefits to all the peoples of Africa and China.

* Lin Songtian is the ambassador of China to South Africa.

** The views expressed here are not necessarily those of Independent Media.