BEIJING, July 30 (Xinhua) -- A two-day forum was launched Monday by a leading Chinese think-tank to explore new opportunities in China-Africa cooperation.
Themed "China and Africa Jointly Building a Community of Shared Future," the annual forum of China Institute of Contemporary International Relations (CICIR) focuses on communication and cooperation between China and Africa in the economy, security, governance, and the development and future of China-Africa relations.
At the opening ceremony, Ji Zhiye, president of the CICIR, said that with the new opportunities brought by the Belt and Road Initiative, China-Africa relations had entered a new phase and a new era.
Ji also said he hoped this event would serve as a warm-up for the upcoming summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation in September and make a substantial contribution to the friendship between China and Africa.
Cheng Tao, former Director-General of the Department of African Affairs, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said the upcoming summit would be a fresh beginning of the relationship between China and Africa in the new era, bringing in new thoughts and methods to connect the Belt and Road Initiative with the development plans of African countries.
The Belt and Road Initiative is already in place in Senegal, said Oumar Demba Ba, Diplomatic Adviser to the President of Senegal.
"We believe that the projects under the Belt and Road Initiative have strengthened what we've already done, and will give the cooperation between the two countries new momentum and perspective," he said.
Ilyas Moussa Dawaleh, Minister of Economy and Finance, in charge of Industry of Djibouti, spoke highly of China's help in building a railway and setting up drinking water projects in African countries.
"China and African countries have been treating each other with sincerity and friendship," said Dawaleh, adding that a shared future bounds them together.
On future cooperation, El Samma Ndegwa, Kenyan deputy secretary of the Ministry of Transport, Infrastructure, Housing, Urban Development and Public Works, highlighted the need to expand China-Africa cooperation projects to affordable housing and other areas to bring more benefit to the public.
At a panel session, Michael Sun, Councilor and member of the Mayoral Committee for Public Safety in Johannesburg, South Africa, called for increased cooperation between law enforcement authorities to better fight cross-border crimes.
He said people-to-people exchanges on security is crucial to boosting mutual understanding and raising people's sense of fulfillment.
"We need to step up our research in development thoughts and methods," said Yang Guang, Director-General of the Institute of West-Asian and African Studies, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.
Yang suggested that studies should be improved to enhance China-Africa strategic partnership from political and economic cooperation to exchanges of thoughts and ideas.
This year's CICIR forum attracted more than 40 experts and officials from China and 12 African countries, and representatives from international organizations including the United Nations, the African Union and the International Committee of the Red Cross, according to the organizer.