The 3rd summit of the Forum On China-Africa Cooperation, FOCAC which brought together more than fifty heads of state and government of Africa and their Chinese counterpart in Beijing last September has been hailed as resounding success, especially its outcomes.
At a post-mortem dialogue on the outcomes of the Beijing summit organized by the Centre for China Studies, (CCS) a think tank, politicians, scholars, diplomats and others agreed that the outcomes of the Beijing Summit, especially the Eight Initiatives outlined by President Xi Jinping, in his keynote speech injected powerful impetus to the existing momentum of the cooperation between the two sides which took a pronounced turn of accelerated growth following the ten cooperation plans issued at the second summit of the group which was held in Johannesburg, in 2015. With the ten cooperation plans of the 2015 summit almost fully realized with a funding support then, of 60billion U.S dollars, participants at the Abuja Post-FOCAC Forum said that the eight new initiatives with additional funding support of 60billion U.S dollars could broaden the scope of the cooperation and extend its beneficial impacts to a very wide of Africa’s population and open the prospects for deeper engagement.
In his opening remarks, Senator Shehu Sani, Senate Committee chairman on foreign and domestic loans, who chaired the forum went down memory lane to explain that only those who are not aware of China’s historic association and support for Africa’s anti-colonial struggle will be surprised at today’s China support for Africa to attain economic development, social inclusion and stability. He added that the contemporary high profile engagement of China with Africa, especially in supporting the continent to build the necessary framework for sustainable development is demonstrable “of a friend indeed.” He called the outcomes of the Beijing Summit, “gigantic” that would set Africa on a path of renaissance.
Delivering a keynote speech to the Forum, the deputy ambassador of China to Nigeria, Mr. Lin Jing said “the success of the FOCAC Beijing Summit has once again fully demonstrated that the traditional friendship between China and Africa has a solid foundation, practical and full of vitality,” and “the two sides have witnessed the signing of nearly 150 cooperation agreements covering various fields, especially cooperation documents on the joint construction of the Belt and Road Initiatives signed between 28 countries and the AU commission and China which have set off another wave of support for the construction of the Belt and Road Initiative and expanded its circle of friends.”
Noting that “Nigeria is the most populous country and largest economy in Africa” the Chinese envoy said that “China-Nigeria has been a pace-setter for China-Africa overall cooperation,” and added that “as president Xi said, the relationship between China and Nigeria is at its best in history,” and that given the deeper mutual trust, China will continue to stand with Nigeria.”
Nigeria’s former deputy ambassador to the United Nations, Ambassador Usman Sarki said that the outcomes of the Beijing summit of FOCAC were opportunity to drive the cooperation between the two sides to win-win trajectories. He called on Africa, countries and Nigeria in particular to seize the momentum of the FOCAC process to fill in the missing gaps in Africa development challenge, especially on the key infrastructures that would drive inclusive and sustainable growth. He praised China for keeping faith with Africa.
Earlier, in his welcome address, director of Centre for China Studies, (CCS) Mr. Charles Onunaiju said that the successful conclusion of the Beijing summit and its outcomes have opened a new chapter in China-Africa relations, especially in the unanimous declaration of the two sides that they are firmly on the path of building a community of shared future. Describing the Forum On China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) as a rare framework of international cooperation that is completely devoid of grandstanding, bombast and double speak, the head of the Nigeria-based Think tank said that as consultative, and collaborative mechanism for collective dialogue and cooperation, FOCAC has been dedicated to practical engagement of tangible outcomes with evident result in the economic and social terrains of Africa today.
According to him, the Eight initiatives announced by President Xi Jinping at the summit which includes – industrial promotion, infrastructure connectivity, trade facilitation, green development, capacity building, health care, people-to-people and peace and security, with a pledge of 60billion U.S dollars funding support represents outstanding deepening of the FOCAC process following the earlier second summit in South Africa in 2015, where President Xi Jinping outlined ten cooperation plans and a funding support of 60billion U.S dollars.
Put together according to the director of the CCS, in just about six years, China has offered Africa a 10+8 plans/initiatives of massive regeneration and renaissance backed up with a whopping 120 billion U.S dollars in funding support, adding that there is no other international partnership with Africa’s history of comparable support and assistance. He further told the forum that a combination of the highly viable FOCAC process with the Belt and Road initiative of International Cooperation Africa is definitely on the path of breaking the historic bottlenecks of infrastructure deficits, scarcity of funds and shortage of skilled manpower that has previously hobbled her development endeavours.
Professor Nazifi, of the economics department of University of Abuja challenged Nigeria public service to rise to the challenge of efficiency and competence to enable the country reap from the outcomes of the just concluded FOCAC summit.
His counterpart in the department of political science, Professor Yusuf Zoaka called for the establishment of Nigeria’s FOCAC commission comprising of experts, technocrats to ensure proper implementation and monitoring of the outcomes of FOCAC, especially as its core contents ally with the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan, the Nigeria’s flagship agenda for economic recovery and sustainable growth.
Representative of the embassy of Ethiopia in Nigeria said that her country has considerably taken advantage of China’s engagement in Africa and has recorded astounding success in rebuilding her economy and described FOCAC as a unique Africa’s opportunity that should be meticulously accessed and leveraged for the benefit of the continent.
Final communiqué of the forum called on the Nigeria and the other African governments to sustain their enthusiasm for the outcomes of the Beijing summit of FOCAC, activate their respective institutional mechanisms for follow-up and diligent implementations of the outcomes and to take serious their commitments to the Belt and Road Initiative and bear in mind that the initiative is defined and driven by the philosophy of “wide consultation, joint contributions and shared benefits.”