On Tuesday, the African Ambassadors Group in China and the United Nations in China co-hosted a symposium in Beijing, initiated by Abdallah Abdillahi Miguil, ambassador of the Republic of Djibouti to the People’s Republic of China and acting dean of the African Ambassadors Group in China, at the Embassy of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia as a follow-up to the 8th Ministerial Conference of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC).
Following the discussions held in Dakar, Senegal, on November 29-30, 2021, the symposium, held under the theme, “Towards a greener, more prosperous and healthier future together”, aims to provide an opportunity for stakeholders to build on the outcomes of the Conference and strengthen the growing partnership between China and Africa.
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“Africa’s population is expected to reach 2.5 billion by 2050, and as the world’s youngest population, it is in this continent where the future economic engines will drive global prosperity. COVID-19 has been a setback, but through concerted partnership, we can overcome the setbacks to accelerate the race towards the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The key to this is harnessing big data, technology, and innovation. The UN family in China and in Africa stand ready to convene, connect, and catalyse these partner-ships to help Africa reap a demographic dividend, reach the SDGs, and propel Africa towards the grand vision of Agenda 2063.” said Siddharth Chatterjee, UN Resident Coordinator in China.
During the symposium, the Resident Coordinator also shared updates on two flagship UN in China initiatives, the SDG Partnership Platform and the Inter-national Center of Excellence for Applied Sustainable Development, both with an African focus, to provide guidance, technical support and strengthen cooperation between China and Africa towards the achievement of the SDGs.
“The 8th Ministerial Conference of FOCAC is a new milestone for China-Africa relations. The announcement of the nine programs and the four outcome documents was a significant result and provided new inputs for enhanced cooperation,” said Wu Peng, Director-General, Department of African Affairs, Ministry of Foreign Affairs for the People’s Republic of China.”
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“I commend the UN Country Team and the African Ambassadors Group in China for this symposium, in continuing the momentum of FOCAC and in strengthening the growing partnership between China and Africa.”
Participants to the symposium include Chinese ministries and departments, not limited to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Commerce, repre-sented by Director-General Jiang Wei, the China International Development Cooperation Agency, represented by Director-General Liu Junfeng, African Diplomatic Missions, the African Union, the UN Country Team, the private sector, and research institutes and foundations from China and abroad.
“The entire world of today is facing serious challenges related to COVID-19, economic constraints, poverty, security, terrorism, climate change and many others. However, China and Africa have proven to the world our resilience, commitments, seriousness, and success in facing these challenges. Therefore, I would like to reiterate our full support and commitment to FOCAC, the One-China policy and to continue working closely with the government of China and other partners for the best benefit of China-Africa relations and the interest of our governments and people,” said Abdallah Abdillahi Miguil.
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“Despite the surrounding challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, our event is a great achievement for China-Africa relations and demonstrates a strong commitment towards further cooperation on sustainable development. Africa is one of the richest continents in terms of natural resources, tourism, cultural exchanges, and investment opportunities. It is our sincere wish that China and Africa can open a new page towards addressing issues relating to public health, women’s and youth empowerment, agriculture, and financing.”
Topics of conversation brought up during the panels include infrastructure pledges made at FOCAC, the proposed opening of “green lanes” for African agricultural exports to China, China’s recent commitment to provide one billion doses of COVID-19 vaccine to African countries, and the challenges currently faced by SMEs in Africa often led by women in accessing affordable credit.
“The wealth of information, the diversity of views and experiences shared, the lessons learned, as well as our determination garnered during the symposium are extremely useful not just to facilitate the implementation of the FOCAC follow up actions but also the implementation of both Agenda 2063 and the SDGs,”, said Osman Rahamtalla, ambassador of the African Union to China.
“I commend the African Ambassadors Group in China, the Government of China, and the UN in China for accepting to co-organize this important event. Let us rise to the challenge, the responsibility, and the confidence that the materialization of these initiated projects/programmes can bring tangible results to our cooperation.”