by Raimundo Urrechaga
HAVANA, Sept. 4 (Xinhua) -- Cooperation between China and Africa is the largest and most important economic and infrastructure development program between a single continent and Beijing, constituting an unprecedented example in history, said a renowned Cuban academic.
In an interview with Xinhua, Jose Luis Robaina, a researcher at Cuba's Center for International Policy, pointed out that there hasn't been a cooperation program between a foreign country and Africa with a magnitude of China's initiatives.
Speaking about the 2018 Beijing Summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC), which concluded Tuesday, Robaina highlighted the opening speech by Chinese President Xi Jinping, where he indicated that the two sides can forge an even stronger comprehensive strategic partnership.
"China's cooperation strategy with Africa has a unique characteristic which is based on collaboration with the whole continent and not just one or several countries," said the former Cuban diplomat.
Robaina said that throughout its history, Africa has been an extremely mistreated continent, where millions of human beings were removed as slaves and then a colonial system was implanted which responded to the interests of Western powers.
After the independence of these nations in the last century, a new path for cooperation with developing countries began and such is the case for exchanges between the African continent and China, he said.
He said Xi's proposal for cooperation is an inclusive one that contrasts with the "exclusive and destructive visions" that have characterized and still identify Western relations with Africa.
He also noted that the points that Xi raised in his speech cover a huge range of issues and visions. "It is a striking strategy, no country has had such a broad cooperation plan with the African continent as China."
The FOCAC Beijing Action Plan (2019-2021) was adopted at the summit to confirm that China and Africa will comprehensively enhance pragmatic cooperation focusing on the implementation of eight major initiatives.
Speaking of the Belt and Road Initiative, Robaina said countries that are part of the China-proposed initiative are demonstrating that "there are new ways of cooperation through peace, economic and political stability."
"Africa's active presence in the Belt and Road means that China supports in a practical, solid, sustainable and systematic way the economic and social development of that continent," he said.
The Cuban expert also highlighted Xi's words on China's commitment to resolutely safeguarding an open world economy and a multilateral trading system, rejecting protectionism and unilateralism.
"China is showing the world that another type of relationships between the countries is possible. The path of sanctions, tariffs and commercial pressures is not the right one," said the scholar.