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Ambassador Wang Ke's Article on the 20th Anniversary of the Founding of FOCAC
2020/12/03

On 1-2 December 2020, Ambassador Wang Ke's article in commemoration of the 20th anniversary of the founding of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) was published by Daily News, The Guardian, Mwananchi and Nipashe newspapers. Here is the full text of the article:

Ambassador Wang Ke's article published by Daily News on 1 Dec. 2020

Ambassador Wang Ke's article published by Mwananchi on 2 Dec. 2020

This year marks the 20th anniversary of the founding of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC). At the start of the 21st century, to better respond to new situations, seize new opportunities and meet new challenges, China and Africa jointly proposed the establishment of FOCAC, which has ushered China-Africa relations into a new era featuring integrated and institutionalized development. Since then, China-Africa cooperation has shifted to a "high gear", advancing on the "fast lane".

Over the past 20 years, FOCAC has been expanding and developing continuously. It has become an important platform for collective dialogue and an effective mechanism for practical cooperation between China and Africa. It has also become a banner of South-South cooperation and international cooperation with Africa. The Forum has delivered a leap in China-Africa relations from "a new type of partnership" to "a new type of strategic partnership" and to "a comprehensive strategic and cooperative partnership", and enhanced the strategic mutual trust between China and Africa to a record high.

FOCAC has never been a "talking shop", but a "task force" that gets things done. Over the past 20 years, FOCAC has formulated and implemented a series of results-oriented actions, plans and measures that meet the needs of China and Africa, bringing tangible benefits to Chinese and Africans. In 2019, direct Chinese investment stock in Africa topped US$49.1 billion, up by nearly 100 times from the year 2000; China-Africa trade reached US$208.7 billion, 20 times the size of 2000. China has been Africa's largest trading partner for 11 years in a row, and has contributed more than 20% to Africa's growth for a number of years. Many strategic projects, such as the African Union (AU) Conference Center, the Addis Ababa-Djibouti Railway, and the Mombasa-Nairobi Railway, have been completed and put into use. A host of projects including railways, roads, airports, seaports and power stations have come to fruition in Africa. So far, China has provided about 120,000 government scholarships to Africa, and sent 21,000 doctors and nurses in medical teams to 48 African nations. These figures and examples are vivid descriptions of the commitment of China and Africa to promoting common development, and strong evidence of mutual benefits and the inclusive nature of China-Africa cooperation.

It should be noted that FOCAC has demonstrated to the world the strong vitality of China-Africa relations characterized by solidarity, mutual assistance, wide consultation and joint contribution. It has also manifested Africa's huge development potential, and enhanced Africa's international image and status. In 2000, Africa was labeled "the Hopeless Continent" in the cover story of the famous magazine The Economist, which represented the general view of Africa in the Western world. However, during the 20 years after the founding of FOCAC, the African economy has showed to the world an exciting growth curve, and Africa has taken on a new look featuring enduring peace and sustained development. Currently, Africa is regarded as a "Hopeful Continent" and a desirable place for investment, and various international mechanisms of cooperation with Africa are established. It is fair to say that FOCAC has not only brought remarkable changes to Africa's economic and social development, but led and promoted the international cooperation with Africa, thus contributing greatly to the diversification of Africa's cooperation partners.

As an important country in Africa and China's traditional cooperation partner, Tanzania has played a significant role in the founding and development of FOCAC. In October 2000, when the then Tanzanian President Benjamin Mkapa was in his crucial period of reelection campaigns, he resolutely made the decision to go to China to attend the First Ministerial Conference of FOCAC, thus becoming one of the four African leaders who witnessed the founding of FOCAC. Former Prime Minister of Tanzania Dr. Salim Ahmed Salim, the then Secretary General of the Organization of African Unity (OAU), was also present at that conference. In the subsequent 20 years, Tanzania has participated in all summits, ministerial conferences, coordinators' meetings, senior officials' meetings and major sub-forums within the framework of FOCAC, actively contributing its wisdom and strength to the Forum's development. In 2018, Prime Minister Kassim Majaliwa, representing President John Pombe Magufuli, attended the FOCAC Beijing Summit, and met with Chinese President Xi Jinping. The two leaders held an in-depth discussion on the development of China-Tanzania relations.

Over the 20 years, China and Tanzania have maintained strategic communication and deepened the mutually beneficial cooperation within the FOCAC framework. The two countries have made joint efforts to implement the outcomes of every conference of the Forum, thereby continuously giving fresh impetus to the win-win cooperation and common development of China and Tanzania.

---The bilateral trade and investment have reached new heights. In 2019, China-Tanzania trade reached US$4.179 billion, 45 times of the size in 2000. China has been Tanzania's largest trading partner for four consecutive years. China's accumulative direct investment in Tanzania has exceeded US$7 billion, with more than 700 investment projects providing around 150,000 direct and indirect jobs for Tanzanians. Chinese enterprises have set up plants in such sectors as textiles, agricultural products processing and building materials manufacturing. These investments have contributed to the implementation of Tanzania's localization strategy in economic development and its industrialization process as well.

---Numerous shining landmarks have emerged in Tanzania. The Julius Nyerere International Convention Centre (JNICC) is another milestone building symbolizing China-Tanzania friendship following the Tanzania-Zambia Railway (TAZARA). The Library of University of Dar es Salaam is the largest and a state-of-the-art library built with Chinese aid in Africa. Among the infrastructural projects undertaken by Chinese companies, the Nyerere Bridge is the first cable-stayed sea-crossing bridge in East Africa; the Ubungo Interchange is the first multi-layer and multi-span flyover in Tanzania; and the National ICT Broadband Backbone (NICTBB) network is Tanzania's "Information Highway" which covers the country and connects the neighboring nations.

---Cooperation to improve people's livelihood has yielded remarkable success. Over the 20 years, China has dispatched 22 medical teams comprised of 490 doctors to Tanzanian Mainland and Zanzibar. The Jakaya Kikwete Cardiac Institute (JKCI), built with China's aid, has made the referral of patients to foreign countries for cardiac surgical operations a thing of the past. China has provided government scholarships to 2,339 Tanzanian students and nearly 7,000 short-term training opportunities to various Tanzanian professionals during the past 20 years. China has also funded the construction of Kagera Regional Vocational Training and Service Centre, and the expansion of Tanzania Police School - Moshi, with the purpose of supporting Tanzania's efforts to develop its human capital.

---People-to-people exchanges have been flourishing. Recent years have witnessed an increasing number of young Tanzanians going to China to study or work. At the same time, more and more Chinese are attracted to Tanzania for business, academic study, investment and tourist purposes. "Happy Spring Festival - Celebrate the Chinese New Year in Tanzania", Tanzania International Wushu (Martial Arts) Competition and other Chinese cultural activities have become famous brands of China-Tanzania cultural exchanges. Tingatinga and other unique arts made in Tanzania have attracted numerous fans in China. Furthermore, the number of Chinese tourists visiting Tanzania in 2019 exceeded 35,000 and the direct flights between Dar es Salaam and Guangzhou are in the pipeline.

A few weeks ago, the 5th plenary of the 19th Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC) adopted the CPC Central Committee's proposals for formulating the 14th Five-Year Plan (2021-2015) for National Economic and Social Development and the Long-Range Objectives Through the Year 2035. These proposals outline the blueprint of China's future development. With the completion of the sixth General Election and the assumption of duties of the national leaders and the Parliament, Tanzania is moving with an accelerated pace toward full realization of the goals set up in its Development Vision 2025. As both China and Tanzania have entered a new period of development, the two countries are facing opportunities for strengthening solidarity and mutually beneficial cooperation. China looks forward to working more closely with Tanzania to align development strategies, enhance policy communications, and accelerate the implementation of the FOCAC Beijing Summit outcomes and the Belt and Road Initiative. By making full use of the FOCAC resources, we can promote the development of our two countries and make China-Tanzania relationship a good model for building a closer China-Africa community with a shared future.

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