By Shifu Fadda
Sierra Leone has joined other countries in Africa to participate in the first meeting for African-China Friendship Organization Leaders, aimed at creating a common prosperity for mankind.
Organized by the Chinese People’s Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries (CPAFFC), the meeting was held in Beijing, the People’s Republic of China on Tuesday. The meeting, which brings together Friendship leaders from 19 African Countries, Chinese Local Authorities from 15 China’s Provinces, representatives from the Chinese Central Government and other key stakeholders, was based on the theme: “New Opportunities for the Belt and Road and Africa-China Cooperation”.
Sierra Leone was represented by Mariatu Kargbo, Chairperson of Sierra Leone-China Friendship Association, with her able Secretary, Hellen Sesay.
The Director-General of Department of African Affairs in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Dai Bing said since 2015, development collaborations between China and Africa in various areas have been deepening with the goal of creating a common prosperity for mankind. “We should make good use of the One Belt and One Road initiative opportunities so as to further strengthen the pathway and encourage people to encourage in various platforms to come on board the friendship ties, which China is happy to support,” Dai said, adding that through cooperation over 60, 000 Africans are currently studying in China and thousands of Chinese Companies are operating in Africa with the primary aim of supporting the development of the continent.
China and Africa are currently preparing the Africa-China Cooperation forum next year, which will be done in the spirit of the 19th CPC Development framework for the two people.
Ambassador of Madagascar to the People’s Republic of China and Dean of the Diplomatic Corps said Africa is currently grasping opportunities provided under the Forum on China–Africa Cooperation (FOCAC), and have learned a lot about the good plans of the 19th CPC Congress. Ambassador Victor Sikonina said Africa is a continent that cannot be ignored in the Belt and Road, and it should not be viewed as a second class partnership but a first-class partner that is willing to always work with China to enhance a win-win benefit.
According to the President of the Chinese-African People’s Friendship Association (CAPFA), the first meeting is of great significance and historic because it was held at a time when the Chinese Authorities have just endorsed entering into a new era of Socialism with Chinese Characteristics during the 19th Communist Party of China Congress. “China believes in strengthening cooperation with developing countries, which is done in mutual respect and trust,” says President Abdul’ahat Abdurixit.
The One Belt One Road initiative, he said provides opportunities for mutual cooperation, hoping that the initiative will further promote the China and Africa dreams for development so that both people will benefit. “Let us be harmonious to build a beautiful feature for China and Africa,” he said.
President of the Botswana-China Friendship Association, Kgosi Puso Gaborone, said the One Belt One Road helps to promote peace, people-to-people friendship and further deepen the China-Africa relations. “Friendship is very important as it makes cooperation to flourish. The cooperation between China and Africa will also enter a new phase with new opportunities and challenges, but there is a need to broaden cooperation for greater opportunities between the two people,” Gaborone said.
He commended Chinese people for playing a greater part in their country’s tourism sector and suggested that this must be replicated by Africans in their respective Countries.
On Africa’s path, the President said more opportunities will be brought forward under the One Belt One Road initiative for sustainable growth in the Continent. “We should work together to build a good and hopeful future in our various cultural heritages. Teamwork will enable us to achieve greater things,” he concluded.