ED heads to China for Focac

Fatima Bulla in BEIJING, China

President Emmerson Mnangagwa will join 53 other African Heads of State and Government and/or their representatives at the 2018 Bejing Summit and Seventh Ministerial Conference of the Forum on China-Africa Co-operation (Focac) scheduled for September 3-4.

African ambassadors accredited to China say next month’s Summit will provide a platform to deepen the two-decade long co-operation between the Asian giant and the continent. Recently, the diplomats had discussions with Chinese officials on a draft action plan for the next three years. African countries are pushing for a relationship that addresses the infrastructure deficit and lack of professional and skilled personnel on the continent. Trade and investment facilitation, poverty reduction, public health, cultural and people-to- people exchanges, as well as peace and security programmes are some of the areas of interest.

Zimbabwe’s top diplomat in China, Ambassador Paul Chikawa said, “The upcoming Beijing Summit is an excellent opportunity for China and Africa to review, plan and implement projects for the mutual benefit of the two sides and beyond. “I say ‘and beyond’ because when you look, for instance, at infrastructure development, projects implemented in Africa will not necessarily be open for use in terms of China-Africa co-operation, but will be used by anyone from anywhere who desires to do business with Africa.” Beijing has funded infrastructure projects like expansion of Kariba South Power Station and Victoria Falls International Airport. The $1,5 billion expansion of Hwange Thermal Power Station is underway.

China’s President Xi Jinping has availed $60 billion for implementation of ten co-operation programmes in Africa.

The figure includes grants and interest-free loans ($5 billion), concessionary loans ($35 billion), development of SMEs ($5 billion), and the China-Africa Fund for Industrial Cooperation ($10 billion). This year’s Focac is themed “China and Africa: Toward an even stronger community with a shared future through win-win co-operation”.

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