China has a moral obligation to help Africa develop, said a Chinese diplomat accredited in Dakar, emphasizing, in this regard, the willingness in recent years of his country’s authorities to strengthen the cultural and commercial ties between Beijing and the African continent.
“The People’s Republic of China is seeking to establish special ties with Africa,”, She Mingyuan, cultural adviser to the Chinese embassy in Dakar, told APA, recalling the support from his country’s leaders to most African countries in their struggle for independence.
The creation of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) in October 2000 is part of Beijing’s willingness to strengthen its presence on the continent, the Chinese diplomat said.
The FOCAC wants to be a platform for discussions and constructive exchanges between China and Africa, APA learns from its website. The Forum consists of meetings at three levels : the ministerial conference, the meeting of senior officials and negotiations between the national monitoring committee and the diplomatic mission representing the African Union in Beijing.
The first ministerial conference of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation, held from 10 to 12 October 2000 in Beijing (China), brought together more than 80 ministers from 44 African countries and China and representatives of 17 international organizations and African regional organizations.
In July 2001, in Lusaka (Zambia), the Chinese and African leaders developed for that purpose a procedure for the monitoring mechanism of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation which entered into force in April 2002, and help institutionalize the mechanism of the Forum.
The new type of strategic partnership sought as part of the Sino-African cooperation was established at the 3rd Ministerial Conference of FOCAC in 2006 in Beijing.
The cooperation is based on political equality and mutual trust and “win-win economically, the Chinese diplomat said.
As an economic power, China intends to strengthen its cooperation with Africa in order primarily to help the peoples of the continent improve their living conditions, he said, denying criticisms that Beijing is more interested in the raw materials from Africa.
According to these critics, Beijing conditions all help to breaking diplomatic ties with Taiwan.
’’Of the 49 African countries that have diplomatic ties with Beijing, few have raw materials,” he said, indicating however that cooperation between two sovereign nations does not exclude natural resources.
Better, he continued, Chinese companies investing in Africa are contributing to helping improve the lives of Africans and enforce the ’’win-win’’ policy.
In 2008, the trade volume between China and Africa reached $106.8 billion, i.e. double the 2006 figure, according to documents copied to APA.
Chinese direct investment in Africa reached 875 million dollars over the first nine months of the year, up 77.5%. This offer accounts for the double of funds pledged at the Beijing’s summit in 2006.
Indeed, China had pledged 5 billion dollars loans to Africa.
Following the summit, the Chinese had announced 8 new measures meant to boost relationships with Africa, which they drafted in a document dubbed “Beijing consensus”.
According to the outcome of a research project conducted by the Consortium for Technical Economies in Africa (CREA), released at the 44th annual meeting of the African Development Bank (AfDB), held in May in Dakar, Africa has become today China’s 3rd largest trading partner.