PRETORIA, Dec. 3 (Xinhua) — Foreign ministers from African countries on Thursday said bilateral ties with China have a promising future given the political goodwill and sincerity from both sides.
The foreign ministers whom spoke to Xinhua on the sidelines of the 6th ministerial conference of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) in Pretoria, South Africa said Beijing will be a critical partner in the endeavor to accelerate Africa’s socio-economic transformation.
Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi attended the ministerial conference that was a precursor to the FOCAC Heads of State summit to be held in Johannesburg from Friday to Saturday.
African foreign ministers who attended the forum emphasized that strong bilateral cooperation with China is key to achieve long-term growth and shared prosperity in the continent.
In her opening remarks, South African Minister for international relations and cooperation, Nkoana Mashabane, said that Sino-Africa cooperation has evolved to cover issues that address poverty alleviation, peace, security, health and ecosystems protection.
“Our relationship with China has addressed major issues ranging from education, health, tourism and infrastructure development. Ours is a true friendship that has stood the test of time,” Mashabane remarked.
She added that China’s involvement was crucial to help African countries realize the UN sustainable development goals and the African Union’s agenda 2063.
The blossoming Sino-Africa cooperation provides a durable solution to the continent’s endemic challenges like poverty, infrastructure and skills gap alongside an under-developed industrial sector.
Ethiopian Foreign Minister Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said that China’s assistance was crucial to boost industrialization in Africa.
“We have a nascent industrial sector and require China’s help in areas like capacity development and technology transfer to enable us establish industrial parks,” said Ghebreyesus.
He added that China’s model of rapid economic transformation in the last two decades was an inspiration to African states aspiring to transition from agrarian to industrial powerhouses.
“We can borrow China’s best practices like manpower development and harnessing of innovations to drive industrial growth,” Ghebreyesus told Xinhua.
The landmark FOCAC summit to be held in Johannesburg will strengthen Sino-Africa bilateral cooperation in strategic areas like industry, infrastructure development, energy and cultural exchanges.
Rwandan Foreign Minister Louise Mushikiwabo said that China is a critical ally that will help African countries realize peaceful and inclusive development.
“There is no question China is an important ally for the African continent. The country has global influence and FOCAC summit presents us an opportunity to review our friendship with Beijing,” Mushikiwabo remarked.
She was upbeat Sino-Africa cooperation will be elevated to new heights in order to help address the continent’s pressing challenges.
“We look forward to major undertakings between China and Africa. We expect China to help us develop infrastructure and link up the continent,” Mushikiwabo told Xinhua.
The theme of the sixth FOCAC summit to be held for the first time in the Africa is in tandem with the continent’s ambition to realize prosperity, peace and cohesion.
Somali Foreign Minister Abdusalam Omer said the landmark summit will lay a strong foundation for future cooperation with China.
“Our expectations for the FOCAC summit are high. We expect China and African countries to come up with a blueprint to guide future development of this continent,” Omer remarked.
He added that in future, Sino-Africa cooperation should focus on development of modern infrastructure alongside social amenities like education and health.