By Lizzy Okoji
Abuja, Nov. 3, 2020 China-Africa Trade relations has recorded tremendous increase under the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) in two decades.
Mr Zhao Yong, Deputy Ambassador of the People’s Republic of China to Nigeria, made this known on Tuesday in Abuja during a Rountable with the theme “FOCAC at 20: Achievements and prospects” organized by the Centre of China Studies (CCS) in Nigeria.
Zhoa said that the past twenty years has been a journey of productive cooperation between China and Africa across all sectors: from trade, investments, technology, education, culture, health, people to people exchange, peace and security.
He said that the China-Africa relationship will never stop moving forward and the development of FOCAC will never take a break.
Zhoa added that China is ready to work with Nigeria to speed up the implementation of the outcomes of the FOCAC Beijing Summit, strengthen the Belt and Road Cooperation to bring more tangible benefits for both countries.
“This year marks the 20th anniversary of the establishment of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC), and the past twenty years have been a productive cooperation between China and Africa.
“In 2019, direct Chinese investment stock in Africa topped 49.1 billion US dollars, up by nearly 100 times from the year 2020; China-Africa trade reached 208.7 billion, 20 times the size of 2020.
“China has been Africa’s largest trading partner for 11 years in a row, and has contributed more than 20 per cent to Africa’s growth for a number of years.
“Cooperation in other fields , from technology, education, culture, health, to people to people exchange, peace and security is also making a significant headway.
“Particularly in 2020, by fighting COVID-19 pandemic together with solidarity and cooperation, China and Africa have shown steady brotherhood and magnificent unity.
“China delivered more than 400 tons of critically needed medical supplies to 53 African countries and the AU, and dispatching public health expert to 15 African countries,” Zhoa said.
Zhoa said the Chinese government and the African Union Commission signed an agreement in July for China to construct the headquarters building of the Africa Center for Disease Control and Prevention
He said China that has proved to be a strategic partner of Nigeria in its pursuit of peace and security and the bilateral relations between China and Nigeria has been a pace setter for China-Africa Cooperation.
Speaking earlier. Mr Charles Onanaiju, Director, Center for China Studies said that in the past twenty years, FOCAC has become a game change in the international system and for Africa’s development.
Onanaiju said that the seminar was convened to assess the activities of FOCAC so far, map out the way forward, as it is a work in progress and to continue to explore critical paradigms to the work of FOCAC in the next 200 years.
He said that Nigeria’s partnership with China has been extremely rewarding and for the first time, Africa has got a partner that is willing and able to support in the key issues of developmental challenges.
“We convene this meeting to look at forum on China and Africa cooperation. It was a watershed founding the forum 20 years ago.
“When FOCAC was founded in 2000 it was in response to the clarion call of institutional framework for south-South cooperation.
“20 years after, the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation has become a game changer not only in the international system, not only has it become a model of cooperation in the international system.
“But has delivered practical results for which our scholars will be examining today, the impact of FOCAC in the past 20 years,” Onanaiju said.
Mr Stephen Awuru representing the Asian and Pacific Division, Ministry of Foreign Affairs said that FOCAC in the past 20 years, has driven and made meaningful contributions in closing the gap of Africa’s infrastructure deficit.
Awuru said that FOCAC in its two decades has driven rapid development of China-Africa relations, boasting to over 170 billion dollars of annual trade volume and 40 billion dollars investments.
He said that President Muhammadu Buhari’s participation at the September 2018 FOCAC summit in Beijing underpinned the importance Nigeria attaches to China, especially in realizing the key priority projects of the present administration.