Interview: Former senior AU official hails FOCAC as "crucial" platform of China-Africa partnership

Source: Xinhua| 2018-01-31 03:26:53|Editor: Liangyu
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ADDIS ABABA, Jan. 30 (Xinhua) -- The Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) is a crucial platform that advances Sino-African partnership, said Erastus Mwencha, former Deputy Chairperson of the African Union Commission.

Mwencha has also hailed China's "tremendous" support to Africa's development in different fields.

Speaking to journalists on Tuesday in Ethiopia's capital Addis Ababa, Mwencha noted that FOCAC has always been important since its beginning by fostering cooperation between the two sides on investment, trade, agriculture and mining sectors, among others.

"It is a great leap in terms of cooperation between Africa and China, in the areas of trade, investment, agriculture, mining and the rest," he said.

He also noted that the upcoming FOCAC summit in Beijing is expected to include areas also under the framework of the Belt and Road Initiative and other development initiatives.

The coming FOCAC is very important because Africa has just developed its agenda 2063 and China has also come up with some 10 areas that President Xi Jinping would like to see cooperation between Africa and China, noted Mwencha.

"So, this is a very crucial meeting which I think will advance the cooperation between China and Africa," he added.

Regarding the overall Sino-Africa cooperation, Mwencha noted that China has been a very strategic partner of Africa, whereby it provides support to infrastructure, mining sector and industrialization on the continent.

"I think from the African perspective, China has been a very strategic partner what others have not been able to do for the last 15 years. China has done tremendously in the last 10 years," he said.

"China has been very strategic in supporting African countries in infrastructure development and in some of the sectors that others perhaps could not have been going to," he said.

Mwencha underlined the need for Africa to strengthen partnership with China to benefit from the development of critical sectors such as manufacturing and agro-industry among others.

"China is now moving to a higher level of technology in terms of development trajectory; and they are giving up almost, you know, 85,000 jobs every other day because of moving in that higher technology. These are like in the areas of light manufacturing and agro-industries for which Africa should position itself to...from China," he said.

"Fortunately, China has been willing and ready to partner with Africa. Just look at the number of industrial parks that have been set up on the continent," he added.