Gambia President Adama Barrow has praised his country’s relationship with China.

NAIROBI – China-Africa cooperation is bearing fruits and unleashing huge potential with the high-quality implementation of the “eight major initiatives.”

Put forward at the Beijing summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) held in September 2018, the eight major initiatives cover the fields of industrial promotion, infrastructure connectivity, trade facilitation, green development, capacity building, health care, people-to-people exchanges as well as peace and security.

Three years on, the 8th Ministerial Conference of FOCAC to be held in Dakar, capital of Senegal, on Monday and Tuesday, is expected to display more cooperation fruits.

FRUITFUL RESULTS

Gambian President Adama Barrow said that it is the rapid development of friendly bilateral relations with China and the guidance of the Beijing Summit of the FOCAC that have enabled The Gambia to complete a number of major national development projects. Barrow made the remarks when attending the inauguration ceremony of a China-aid construction project of road and bridges in the country’s Upper River Region last month.

The project, which successfully completed the “last kilometer” of The Gambia’s national highway network, will facilitate the free movement of people, goods, and services in the region and west Africa, improve people’s lives, boost economic development, and upgrade public services. Barrow said his country is committed to deepening relations with China and will further expand practical cooperation with China in trade, investment and culture on the basis of win-win results.

Since the founding of the FOCAC in 2000, Chinese companies have built or upgraded more than 10,000 km of railway and nearly 100,000 km of highway across Africa and created a total of over 4.5 million jobs. Over the past two decades, China’s trade with Africa has increased 20-fold, making China Africa’s biggest bilateral trade partner for 12 consecutive years, data from the Chinese Ministry of Commerce showed.

In the first nine months of 2021, China’s direct investment in Africa hit 2.59 billion U.S. dollars, up 9.9 percent year on year, which outpaced China’s overall outbound investment by 3 percentage points and exceeded the pre-pandemic level in the same period in 2019.

PANDEMIC FIGHT

In a recent interview with Xinhua, Jean-Claude Gakosso, minister for foreign affairs of the Republic of the Congo, extended his appreciation for “the promptness that China shows in the distribution of vaccines against COVID-19.” Gakosso hailed China as a country which “has always had a listening ear for its friends,” adding that more than 250,000 Congolese have been inoculated with at least one dose of the Sinopharm vaccine.

Since 2020, China has provided ample emergency anti-pandemic supplies — including 120 batches of nucleic test reagents, protective gear, masks, eye protectors, and ventilators — to 53 African countries and the African Union (AU), with these emergency supplies reaching almost all areas across the continent.

China has also actively shared its anti-epidemic experience with African countries and dispatched anti-epidemic medical expert groups or short-term anti-epidemic medical teams to 17 African countries to fight COVID-19. It also helps construct the headquarters of the Africa Center for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC).

On Friday, the AU Commission marked structural completion of the main building of the China-aided future headquarters of the Africa CDC. Amira El Fadil, AU Commissioner for Health, Humanitarian Affairs and Social Development, dubbed the landmark project the latest manifestation of the ever-blossoming and long-standing China-Africa ties.

“Africa, which has long been suffering from various infectious diseases, particularly the recurrent Ebola outbreaks and the raging COVID-19 pandemic, is in urgent need to improve its disease control system, in which the timely completion of the future Africa CDC project is expected to inject much-needed momentum,” Benjamin Djoudalbaye, head of Policy and Health Diplomacy at the Africa CDC, told Xinhua.

China actively honors its commitment to making vaccines a global public good. By Nov. 12, China had provided over 1.7 billion doses of COVID-19 vaccine to more than 110 countries and organizations, including 50 African countries and the AU Commission, and is striving to provide a total of 2 billion doses by the end of this year.

NEW PROSPECTS

“China is the African people’s old friend, true friend, and good friend,” said Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Zhao Lijian at a regular press conference on Thursday. “The African people are in the best position to judge the outcomes of China-Africa cooperation.

A few days ago I mentioned a report by the African pollster Afrobarometer, which shows that 63 percent of Africans surveyed believe the economic and political influence of China in their country is ‘somewhat positive’ or ‘very positive,'” Zhao said. Looking ahead, China and Africa are enjoying immense growth potentials in digital economy, new energy, and climate change, among others.

Silas Musyoka, Marketplace Operations manager at Kilimall in Nairobi, Kenya, envisions a brighter future for China-Africa cooperation in the digital economy, saying it will help revamp supply chains, promote unimpeded trade in high-quality products and create additional jobs for the youth.

“More people are buying products online. Many African countries are adopting e-commerce, supply chains are expanding,” Musyoka said. Evans Kiprotich, an employee at Kilimall’s technical department, said online buying that gives him convenience and fun has a promising future in Africa.

Recalling his previous study experience at China’s Hunan University, Kiprotich, a frequent visitor to Chinese online shopping platforms such as Taobao and Pinduoduo, said that he had acquired invaluable experience with e-commerce while in China, having enjoyed the convenience of e-shopping for trendy clothes and electronics. – Xinhua News