African representatives hailed China’s commitment to the continent at a forum on July 24 in Chengdu, capital of Sichuan province. And they anticipate more significant outcomes from the upcoming Beijing Summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation in September.
Republic of Congo Prime Minister Clement Mouamba, speaking on the sidelines of the China-Africa People’s Forum, praised China’s commitment to people-to-people exchanges with the continent, saying that he was impressed by the congratulatory letter sent by President Xi Jinping to the event.
“People-to-people exchanges have become a pillar of China-Africa relations,” he said.
He also voiced confidence in the outcomes to be achieved at the upcoming summit in Beijing, saying that he believes the gathering will see broader cooperation.
The Chengdu forum, which concluded on July 24, passed the Program for China-Africa People-to-People Friendship and Partnership 2018-20, which includes 30 areas of cooperation between China and Africa.
Former Tanzanian president Jakaya Kikwete said the forum is an important building block for the Beijing summit, and its outcomes can contribute to the summit’s success.
“I expect stronger and mutually beneficial cooperation between China and Africa to be achieved during the summit,” he said.
He added that he hopes the summit can also find a way to support the work of NGOs from both China and Africa, which he believes are competent partners for governments involved.
Despite some questions being asked about China-Africa relations, the important aspect of the relationship is to have all partners show mutually beneficial support for each other, he said.
Sun Jiazheng, president of the China NGO Network for International Exchanges, which hosted the forum, said the proposals put forward during the event in Chengdu will be submitted to the Beijing gathering for future reference.
“We as NGOs from China and Africa can learn about people’s expectations, demands and wisdom, and contribute to the decision-making process of governments,” he said.
Wang Yajun, deputy minister of the International Department of the Communist Party of China Central Committee, said at the closing of the forum that a number of important initiatives were agreed upon.
“We all believe that alignment of concepts should be accelerated to build an even stronger community with a shared future for China and Africa,” he said.
Another consensus reached at the forum was that broader cooperation between China and Africa and improving livelihoods were of critical importance, Wang said, adding that NGOs from China and Africa should play a leading role under the framework of a China-Africa comprehensive strategic partnership and the Belt and Road Initiative.