The Interpretations of the Johannesburg Summit of the FOCAC and the Sixth Ministerial Conference on the 10 Major China-Africa Cooperation Plans in Economic and Trade Domains
At the Johannesburg Summit of the Forum on China―Africa Cooperation (the “FOCAC”) and the Sixth Ministerial Conference, which were convened in South Africa in December 2015, President Xi Jinping, on behalf of Chinese government, announced the upgrading from New-type Sino-African Strategic Partnership to a comprehensive strategic cooperative partnership to conduct 10 Major China-Africa Cooperation Plans so as to create a blueprint for China-Africa practical cooperation and usher in a new chapter in Sino-African partnership. The 10 major China-Africa cooperation plans cover areas of industrialization, agricultural modernization, infrastructure, financial services, green development, trade and investment facilitation, poverty reduction and public welfare, public health, people-to-people exchanges, and peace and security. In respect of economic and trade domains, China and Africa intend to implement cooperation in industrialization, agricultural modernization, infrastructure, green development, trade and investment facilitation, poverty reduction and public welfare, and public health.
Based on extensive consultation with people from all walks of life both in China and in Africa, the economic and trade cooperation plans mentioned above endeavor to bridge Sino-African development strategies and major cooperation fields in consideration of seeking rapid development as common aspiration and following economic and trade cooperation trend for China and African countries in the new situation. Under the guidance of President Xi’s idea of developing relations with Africa with sincerity, real results, affinity and good faith and a more balanced approach to upholding principles and pursuing interests, China focuses on establishing a three-dimensional China-Africa economic and trade cooperation structure in a systematic chain, taking account of long-term and immediate interests, as well as inheritance and innovation. The plans with rich content, vigorous action and wide range are incomparably superior to measures of previous forums. The above economic and trade cooperation plans amply demonstrate China's steadfast support for inclusive and sustainable development of economy and society in Africa. In addition, contributing to Sino-African further practical cooperation, comprehensive sharing of development fruits, and concerted response to opportunities and challenges, these plans will strongly support Sino-African comprehensive strategic cooperative partnership and promote Sino-African economic and trade cooperation to a new high.
Specific interpretations are as follows:
I. China-Africa cooperation in industrialization. China will actively promote Sino-African industry bridging and capacity cooperation by encouraging Chinese enterprises to invest in Africa, jointly building or upgrading a batch of new industrial park, and appointing senior government experts or advisors to African countries. Moreover, China will establish a number of regional vocational education centers and several capacity-building colleges for Africa, train 200,000 technicians for African countries, and provide the continent with 40,000 training opportunities in China.
Interpretations: Cooperation in industrialization will enjoy priority in future development and embodies the demonstrativeness and foresight in China-Africa economic and trade cooperation. Since industrialization is of vital importance in African economic transformation, the Agenda 2063 of African Union (AU) explicitly declares that by the year 2063, the total value of African manufacturing industry will account for over 50% of its GDP, employing over 50% of the new labor force. These goals underline that Africa is required to upgrade the additional value of commodity a step further and improve the skill level of labor force, thus achieving industrialization and economic growth in Africa. For one thing, with an independent and integrated industrial system of complete categories and vigorous ongoing promotion in international capacity cooperation, China’s competitive industries and superior capacities accord well with the needs of African industrialization process. Africa, for another, has aspirations and qualifications to advance those capacities in cooperation with China. The prerequisite has been attained for China-Africa cooperation on industrialization. In consideration of AU's Agenda 2063 and African countries' development plans in terms of industrialization and economic diversification, China will encourage and support Chinese enterprises to expand investment in Africa. In addition, China will start with core aspects of upstream and downstream in industrial development to build intangible infrastructure and tangible facilities, promoting China-Africa cooperation in industrialization in a chain development. Therefore, under the framework of China-Africa cooperation in industrialization, China will focus on cooperation with Africa in following domains:
--Construction of cooperation platform. Based on the market operation in African countries, China will continue its support in developing industrial parks in Africa through multiple investing and financing modes. For example, China will jointly build or upgrade a number of economic and trade cooperation zones including industrial parks, support the construction of infrastructures such as road, water and electricity inside and outside the industrial parks, and assist the construction of public service facilities like standardized plants inside the zone. With these efforts, we can shape the economic and trade cooperation zones into a demonstrative platform in Africa for China-Africa industrial agglomeration and capacity cooperation, thus establishing sound conditions to attract considerable investors for African industrialization.
--Support in planning and arrangement. As developing countries, China and African countries possess similar development tasks and goals. Besides, they can learn development experience from each other. Therefore, with regard to the economic development status in Africa, China will appoint senior experts and advisors to African countries who are in need, providing them with intellectual support in planning and arrangement, policy design, and operational management for Africa's industrialization. Through such assistance, China's successful experience of industrialization will be shared with African countries without reservation.
--Training in management and technicians. Talents are the key to industrialization as well as the core of improving self-independent development capacity in Africa. Since the Beijing Summit of the FOCAC and the Third Ministerial Conference, China has fulfilled its commitment to train 15,000, 20,000, and 30,000 talents of various kinds respectively. For the next three years, China will focus on industrialization as well as fields relating to economic development and people's livelihood, providing training and researching opportunities in China for 40,000 Africans, young people and women in particular so as to arm Africa with more technical and management personnel.
--Training in basic vocational skills. Through joint efforts of Chinese government and enterprises, China will choose, together with Africa, some African countries with strong regional radiating capacity to set up a batch of regional vocational education centers. Effective and sustainable basic vocational skills training will be offered by China through multiple means as technical assistance, overseas training and distance learning in order to equip Africa with appropriate personnel whose expertise is available and to help Africa convert the huge demographic dividend into real advantages in development.
II. China-Africa cooperation in modern agriculture. China will share agricultural development experiences with Africa, transfer the agricultural applicable technologies to Africa, and encourage Chinese enterprises to conduct large-scale cultivation, livestock breeding, and food storage and processing in Africa, so as to increase the local employment and farmers’ income. Moreover, China will implement agricultural enriching projects in 100 African villages, send 30 groups of agricultural experts to Africa, and establish "10 + 10" cooperation mechanism for China-Africa agricultural research institutions. China pays much attention to the poor harvests in many African countries caused by the El Niño phenomenon, and will provide RMB 1 billion emergent food assistance for the affected countries.
Interpretations: Developing modern agriculture and promoting agricultural development and capability are significant for Africa to achieve food security and guarantee the economic development. The agricultural production conditions in Africa are advantageous, so both Agenda 2063 and the Comprehensive African Agricultural Development Plan regard boosting the agricultural productivity, promoting the localization of grain production, developing modern agriculture and ensuring food security as vital development directions, and put forward the development goal of eliminating hunger and food shortages by 2063. China is a large agricultural country and is armed with management experiences and practical technologies in agricultural production which are suitable for African countries to develop agriculture. Besides, agricultural cooperation between both sides has long-standing tradition and solid foundation. Therefore, China will combine Agenda 2063 with agricultural development plans of each African country, to further share agricultural development experiences with Africa and transfer the agricultural applicable technologies. In addition, a comprehensive industrial chain of China-Africa agricultural cooperation will be built on the basis of traditional agricultural cooperation to improve African modern agricultural development, make China-Africa agricultural cooperation benefit more Africans, and contribute to African food security. Hence, concerning China-Africa cooperation plan in modern agriculture, China will focus on cooperation with Africa in the following aspects:
--Implementation of agricultural enriching projects. China will actively mobilize the governmental, enterprises’ and private resources, reside on tour in 100 African rural areas by sending agricultural experts, and focus on teaching and promoting China's agricultural applicable technologies according to actual needs of local agricultural development. In addition, agricultural information service will be provided, and industry organizations will also be established under guidance in order to promote the docking between local farmers and market, improve their skills and increase their incomes, and enhance African rural development.
--Enhancement of agricultural development capability. China will send 30 batches of experts armed with agricultural technologies and groups of professional teachers to African countries, so as to plan the agricultural development jointly with Africa, carry out academic exchange, conduct experimental demonstration, provide technical and teaching guidance, as well as train more local talents in agriculture, supporting Africa in terms of strengthening the construction of agricultural development capability.
--Development of scientific cooperation in agriculture. Agricultural technology is the guarantee of African agricultural modernization, so China is willing to further enhance the cooperation in the transfer of advanced agricultural technologies, the agricultural technology research and development, and the training of agricultural scientific research. On the basis of African agricultural cooperation projects which have been established under China’s assistance, 10 agricultural research institutions will be chosen in each side to set up mutual cooperation mechanism, and carry out research exchanges and cooperation in seed breeding, livestock improvement, pest control, and animal epidemic prevention and control. Moreover, the cooperation mechanism will support African countries in terms of agricultural science and technology innovation, increase the agricultural production capacity and added value of agricultural products in Africa, and support African to develop modern agriculture.
--Provision of emergent food assistance. Affected by the El Niño phenomenon, several African countries suffer much from drought, and their food production decreases a lot. China will provide humanitarian food assistance to the affected countries in Africa according to the requirements of relevant countries, and participate actively in the cooperation within international organizations to aid African countries to alleviate food crisis and enhance African food security level.
III. China-Africa cooperation in infrastructure construction. China will strengthen mutually beneficial cooperation with Africa in the planning, design, construction, operation, maintenance and other aspects of infrastructure, support Chinese enterprises to actively participate in African infrastructure construction such as railway, highway, regional aviation, ports, electricity, and telecommunications to improve the capacity of sustainable development in Africa, and offer support for African countries to found 5 communication universities.
Interpretations: Infrastructure cooperation is a traditional cooperation domain for both sides, and is also significant to the promotion and transformational development of China-Africa economic and trade cooperation. Relatively lagging Infrastructure has been one of the main bottlenecks to restrict African integration and independent sustainable development. Therefore, African Agenda 2063 puts forward the idea of connecting African capitals and commercial centers, improving the efficiency of civil aviation and strengthening the port and shipping industry by high-speed railway network and transportation routes. Besides, African Infrastructure Development Plan also confirms four important domains of energy, transportation, information communication and cross-border water resources, “four lines and six ways” railway network and “three lines and six ways” highway network included. China has obvious advantages in infrastructure construction, and the infrastructure cooperation between China and Africa continues to deepen. The China-Africa partnership has been established in cross-border and cross-region infrastructure construction, which has created conditions for a higher development level of bilateral cooperation. China will persist in supporting African integrated development, and combine it with African infrastructure development vision to fully play the role of cooperation mechanism such as the joint working group of African cross-border and cross-region infrastructure. Through the implementation of a number of key projects, China will also further strengthen the cooperation in infrastructure planning, design, construction, operation, maintenance and all-round fields, and supply advanced equipment, technology, standard and service for Africa to improve infrastructure conditions and business environment. Thus, concerning China-Africa cooperation in modern agriculture, China will focus on the cooperation with Africa in the following aspects:
--Railways, highways and ports. China will combine African planning layout of “four lines and six ways” railway network with that of “three lines and six ways” highway network through a variety of financing patterns and cooperation modes, and encourage enterprises to actively participate in African network constructions of railways, highways and ports. Furthermore, China will cooperate with Africa to build a batch of large projects of highways, railways and ports, provide mature and reliable technologies and equipment to assist the construction of African transportation network and drive the regional economic development.
--Regional aviation. China will continue to propel China-Africa regional aviation cooperation with Africa, on the premise of market operation to deepen the cooperation in aviation investment and operation, provide more commercial equipment, support facilities constructions in Africa such as airports, parts library, maintenance center and aviation schools, enhance the construction ability of airworthiness certification and aviation regulation in African countries, boost cooperation of bilateral products, technologies, standards, facilities, after-sales services and personnel training, and improve African civil aviation operation efficiency and the degree of interconnection.
--Electric power. China will use various financing patterns on the basis of the actual demands of African countries to support African constructions of generation projects in hydropower, thermal power, wind power, photovoltaic power and biomass power, and power transmission and power grid projects, so as to help Africa improve the current situation of constraint on economic growth because of electric power shortage, and supplying continuous power for African development.
--Information communication. China will support the construction of information society and digital economy in Africa, encourage Chinese enterprises to participate in the information network construction, operation and service in African countries on the premise of market operation, and set up modern information and communication network beneficial to Africa’s development.
--Talents and research and development. China will mobilize governmental and enterprises’ resources to participate actively in rebuilding or upgrading 5 communication universities covering aviation, railways and highways, provide all-round support in those aspects like infrastructure, teaching equipment and cooperation scheme, technical assistance and management operation and assist Africa to systemically train professional technical teams in infrastructure, so as to provide the Africa with talents and research and development support for its sustainable development of African connectivity projects.
V. China-Africa cooperation in green development. China will support Africa in environmental-friendly and sustainable development, help Africa conduct 100 clean energy and wildlife conservation programs, environmental-friendly agriculture program and smart city program. China-Africa cooperation will never take the risk of damaging local ecological environment and long-term interests as the cost.
Interpretations: it is the common objective of the two countries to promote economic development and protect environment at the same time. In the rapid development stage, avoiding destroying the ecological environment in the process of economic development is a key point in realizing inclusive and sustainable development of Africa, and it has become a common concern of governments and people in African countries. With successful experience in ecological environment protection and green development, China has always attached great importance to protecting African ecological environment in the economic and trade cooperation between China and Africa. China will strict require Chinese companies to pay close attention to protecting local environment, while strengthening the cooperation in ecological environment protection with Africa in accordance with African practical needs, help Africa devote into green, low-carbon and sustainable development. Therefore, under the program of China-Africa cooperation in green development, China will conduct key cooperation programs with Africa in the following aspects.
--Clean energy and wildlife protection. China will help African countries conduct an array of clean energy and wildlife protection programs, including disaster prevention and mitigation, wildlife protection demonstration, environmental management, meteorological monitoring and clean energy, which aim to help Africa achieve relevant objectives of the United Nations Sustainable Development Agenda 2030.
--Construction of environment-friendly agriculture and smart city. China will carry out a batch of environmental-friendly agriculture programs and smart city programs for African countries, involving research and development of agriculture, planting, manufacturing, storage and processing in terms of environmental-friendly agriculture program, and programs on low-carbon city plan, transportation, architecture, smart grid and big data which are conductive to the city's environmental protection. These programs will promote the sustainable development of agriculture and urbanization process in Africa, and achieve harmony between human beings and nature.
VI. China-Africa cooperation in trade and investment facilitation. China will implement 50 trade-aided programs in Africa to improve its domestic and foreign trade as well as the software and hardware conditions of investment. China is ready to negotiate with African countries and regional organizations about the comprehensive free trade agreement, covering trade in goods, services, investment and other fields, and expand imports from Africa. China will help African countries enhance the ability of law enforcement in customs, quality control and taxes, and conduct cooperation in the fields such as standardization, certification and accreditation, and e-commerce.
Interpretations: as the largest trading partner and one of important investors of Africa, China has been working with Africa to create new growth points of trade and investment cooperation. In the Agenda 2063 of Africa, it is proposed that efforts shall be made to promote the construction of large free trade zones throughout African countries with regional trade weight in African trade reaching 50% and African trade weight in the global trade reaching 12% by 2045, and the realization of free flow of people, capital, goods and services by 2063. According to African development objectives and practical needs, China will continue to help Africa enlarge the investment scale of domestic and foreign trade, improve the structure of trade and investment, expand its exports of non-resource products, improve trade and investment facilitation, and work with Africa to build a more convenient and freer trade and investment environment so as to promote the continuous development of economic integration process in Africa. To achieve these objectives, China will carry out cooperation projects with Africa in the following aspects under the program of China-Africa cooperation in trade and investment facilitation:
--Continue to provide assistance to promote trade in Africa. Considering the different requirements of each African country, China will carry out 50 aid programs to promote trade in African countries, ranging over capacity building, upgrading of customs' commodity inspection and transportation facilities and provision of relevant materials and equipment, in order to help Africa break through the interior market barriers, thus deepening China-Africa economic and trade cooperation from the regional level.
--Conduct cooperation in free trade zones. To support Africa's objective of establishing free trade zones throughout all African countries, China is willing to fully dig the potentials of China-Africa economic and trade cooperation through negotiations with Africa about the comprehensive free trade agreement on trade in goods and services, investment cooperation and other fields, and provide better institutional environment for trade investment on a more free and convenient level, help African products enjoy the benefits of China's enormous market and encourage more Chinese enterprises to invest in Africa.
--Push forward the cooperation in E-commerce. Enjoying broad development prospects in Africa, E-commerce is also a significant means of improving trade and investment facilitation. China will encourage Chinese enterprises to discuss with Africa about the cooperation in "Internet Plus" including E-commerce in line with the market principle, enabling Africa to enjoy the convenience brought by information technology and big data economy with other regions in the world.
VII. China-Africa poverty reduction and public welfare. With further efforts made to alleviate its own poverty, China will, at the same time, increase assistance to Africa by launching 200 "Happy Life" projects and poverty reduction programs benefiting women and children, and release relevant least developed African countries from outstanding debts in the form of inter-governmental zero-interest loans that mature at the end of 2015.
Interpretations: Africa is facing an arduous task to reduce poverty. Poverty alleviation and livelihood improvement constitute common goals of African countries. The Agenda 2063 of Africa countries explicitly declares poverty reduction goals including reducing youth mal-development rate to 10% and children weight deficiency rate to 5% or less by 2025. China is speeding up its national course of poverty reduction, and will strengthen the coordination in this field with African countries through extensive cooperation and by sharing poverty alleviation experience with each other, thus further supporting Africa's poverty reduction progress and helping Africa to continuously enhance its people's life quality and happiness index, and making a joint contribution to improving people's well-being in China and Africa, and in the world. To fulfill these goals, under the program of China-Africa poverty reduction and public welfare, China will cooperate with Africa particularly in the following aspects:
--Implement "Happy Life" projects and other poverty alleviation projects. With active mobilization of government, enterprise and non-government resources as well as extensive cooperation between China and African countries, China and Africa will jointly carry out 200 cooperation programs of poverty reduction and public welfare that benefit African people at the basic level, striving to achieve effective cooperation of closely connecting with people and benefiting people. By bringing into force the "Happy Life" projects, China will help Africa promote its country public service level, reinforce the employability and skill training, improve the community environment and living conditions in country areas, and construct the "last mile" country road, thus enabling African villages to develop at the same pace with modern civilization. China will assign medical tour groups and volunteers to some African areas in need to publicize expertise on material and child health care and drinking water hygiene, and to train local medical staffs, for the purposes of protecting African women' reproductive health and promoting African children' healthy growth. China will also help Africa to upgrade teaching organization and management level on the basis of China-supported elementary and secondary schools and vocational-technical schools in Africa, provide students with learning and living materials as well as basic nutritious meals in the way of sending stationary, articles, books, physical education and culture, consequently entitling more African young people with better learning environment.
--Cancel outstanding debts in the form of inter-governmental zero-interest loans. China will free relevant least developed African countries from outstanding debts in the form of inter-governmental zero-interest loans that mature at the end of 2015 and will verify zero-interest loans, sign the debt-relief agreements and handle formalities for counter-balance accounts with relevant African countries, with the purposes of helping them to reduce debts and elevating their sustainable development abilities.
VIII. China-Africa cooperation in public health. China will participate in the construction of African public health systems for prevention and control such as centers for disease control and capacity, support the demo cooperation of 20 hospitals respectively in China and Africa, strengthen the construction of professional departments, continue to dispatch medical staff to conduct "Lighting" projects and offer medical assistance for women and children, and provide a batch of compound artemisinin antimalarial drugs. Besides, in order to improve drug accessibility in Africa, China encourages and supports Chinese enterprises to carry out drug production localization in Africa.
Interpretations: China-Africa cooperation in the field of public health has been developing rapidly in recent years. In 2014, after the outbreak of Ebola epidemic in West Africa, China took the lead in the rescue, launched four rounds of emergency humanitarian assistance one after another, provided medical supplies and equipment, helped Africa to build diagnosis and treatment centers and biological laboratories, and sent medical workers to fight with African people in the first line. Recently, China has announced the fifth round of assistance to help the economic and social reconstruction of affected countries, which is highly evaluated by international communities and African people. The Agenda 2063 of Africa puts forward development objectives, including completely curbing tropical diseases and infectious diseases like Ebola, dramatically reducing the incidence of non-communicable diseases, and extending the average life expectancy of African people to 75 years old or more. Taking this as the chance, China will, in combination with African development objectives and actual needs, support Africa to comprehensively enhance the capacity of public health prevention and control and independent development from the source. Therefore, China will focus on the cooperation with Africa in the following aspects under the program of China-Africa cooperation in publ