By Shifu Fadda
Sierra Leone is part of the 53 African Countries that participated in the 12th Senior Officials Meeting of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) held in Beijing in the People’s Republic of China on Friday.
Sierra Leone was represented by Officials from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, which includes: Dr. Michael Kargbo, Deputy Director General Policy Department (Head of Delegation); Mohamed S. Kargbo, Director, Middle East and Asia Division; Ms Mamusu Tarawallie, Policy Analyst, Middle East and Asia Division; and Robert Koroma, 2nd Secretary, Embassy of Sierra Leone in the People’s Republic of China.
Held with the aim of reviewing the implementation of the FOCAC and the 6th Ministerial Meeting and the next FOCAC to be held in Beijing next year, the meeting was also attended by 35 Members from China’s Follow-up Committees and their African counterparts and some other African Organizations.
The meeting reviewed the implementation of outcomes of the FOCAC Johannesburg Summit and the 6th Ministerial Conference, discussed the preparations of the 2018 FOCAC Conference; Review the adoption of the minutes of the Senior Officials Meeting etc.
Chen Xiaodong, Co-Chair of Chinese Follow-Up Committee of FOCAC and Assistant Minister of Foreign Affairs said there has been a comprehensive job done on follow-ups as instructed by President Xi Jinping after the 2015 FOCAC held in Johannesburg, South Africa.
China and Africa, he said have maintained a very good relationship over the years. He reported that two-thirds of the US$60 billion development support pledged by the Chinese President Xi Jinping has been put into use on various projects implemented and eye marked.
China contributes strongly to Africa’s development and poverty reduction efforts. The US$60 billion development package covers the 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.
The new goal set by President Xi during the 19th Communist Party of China (CPC) Congress, entering a new era of socialism with Chinese Characteristics, is expected to bring greater hope and rewards in the China-Africa relations.
Chen continued by saying that this is a new opportunity for China and Africa to redouble efforts and lay a solid foundation for a common prosperity. He pointed out that as China is entering a new era starting next year, and Africa is having its 2063 Agenda, there is a need to work together to achieve both dreams for the benefit of the two people.
China is currently contributing over thirty percent to global economic growth, and it is the second largest economy in the world.
“We do not intend to export or force any country to implement our culture or ideas, but we are always willing to work with anyone for greater achievements,” Chen said, he recommended that there is need to implement the outcomes of the FOCAC, and also seek complementariness and demonstrate unity and progress.
China, he noted, sees next year’s development path as very significant it is ready to move along with Africa.
A statement was written by His Excellency Nomaindiya Mfeketo, Deputy Minister of International Relations and Cooperation of South Africa, Co-Chair Country of FOCAC; was read by Professor Anil Sooklal, South African FOCAC Coordinating Senior Official. He stated Africa’s willingness to join the development path of economic cooperation with China so as to build a prosperous society in the continent. He said since the FOCAC was established seven years ago, there has been a continuous improvement on China Africa relations and assured that greater efforts will be made to ensure that the resolutions and plans in the 2015 FOCAC are implemented.