By Ambassador Liu Yuxi
ADDIS ABEBA – The 2nd Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation (BRF) is held in Beijing 25-27 April, 2019. As the highest platform for international cooperation under the framework of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), BRF is widely participated by 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, actively promotes industrialization, agricultural modernization, urbanization, economic development and transformation powered by scientific and technological innovation, and the free movement of commodities, services, capital and persons, all aimed at realizing the African Dream of building an integrated, prosperous and peaceful continent. Africa has become a promising land for development and investment.
Africa boasts a historical and natural position in the Belt and Road Initiative, it is an indispensable part of international cooperation under the BRI framework. In historical times, Chinese tea, porcelain and culture were transmitted along the Maritime Silk Road to Africa, which had strengthened people-to-people friendship and facilitated exchanges among civilizations, making it a route of China-Africa friendship inscribed in history books. Passing on the Spirit of the Silk Road is still relevant as China and Africa have undergone tremendous changes under new circumstances, a bright future lies ahead for cooperation under the BRI framework.
The BRI was put forth by China and well consulted between Chinese and African policy-makers. 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 are providing inexhaustible dynamism to the steady and sustainable development of the BRI in Africa.
China works strenuously to link its development strategy with the AU Agenda 2063 and the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development Goals to promote policy coordination, facilities connectivity, unimpeded trade, 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 (FOCAC), Chinese and African leaders reached important consensus on joining hands in the BRI, and decided to use the 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. The BRI advocates harmony of differences, accommodating varying ideas, equal treatment and complementarity, promoting ideas of common, compact, green, secure and open development, in a bid to keep up the momentum of China-Africa cooperation.
China has signed BRI MOUs with 37 African countries and AU to promote cooperation in industrial capacity, infrastructure and trade facilitation, making the BRI a bridge of cooperation between China and Africa. The Chairperson of the African Union Commission Moussa Faki Mahamat said that Africa-China relations had found out the right direction and chosen the right path.
The BRI focuses on development shared by the people. The BRI sticks to the principle of win-win, common-win and multi-win, opposes the outdated mentality of ‘Winner takes all’ and ‘You win, I lose’. True development leaves no one behind. Chinese and African development strategies are highly compatible and complementary.
Chinese experiences and technologies can contribute to transform Africa’s potential and resources to development dynamics and results to improve the people’s welfare, and quicken 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 Mombassa-Nairobi Standard Gauge Railway, Addis Abeba-Djibouti Railway and a batch of major projects of 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 and revitalization.
The 2nd BRF 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 our comparative advantages, strengthen overall planning and top-level design, and identify cooperation areas, key programs and implementation mechanisms.
We need to implement a series of major projects befitting Africa’s development priorities to give new 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, greenness, innovation and civilization, as a building block of the community of shared future for mankind.
The writer, Amb. Liu Yuxi, is Head of Mission of the People’s Republic of China to AU
Editor’s note: The article reflects the author’s opinion only, and not necessarily the views of editorial opinion of The Monitor Online.