Over the past five years, China-Africa friendship has been deepened and strengthened through 47 visits of African heads of state/ government to China.
African leaders from countries like Zambia, Sierra Leone, Kenya, Senegal, Ethiopia have been coming to China on state/official visits and for attending events such as the Boao Forum for Asia Annual Conferences, the 70th anniversary of the victory of the Chinese People's War of Resistance Against Japanese Aggression and the World Anti-Fascist War, the 11th G20 summit, the BRICS Xiamen summit.
On March 24, 2013, ten days after being elected as the president of China, Xi Jinping visited Africa on his first trip abroad as head of state.
Xi announced that China-Africa relations should be guided by the principles of being "genuine, practical, friendly, frank" in a speech at the Julius Nyerere International Convention Center in Tanzania.
On December 4, 2015, the historic second summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) in Johannesburg, South Africa took China-Africa friendship to a new level with 10 major China-Africa cooperation plans announced by President Xi.
Since then, many projects which were proposed under these 10 plans have been successfully completed way ahead of the schedule and have achieved fruitful results.
The 2018 FOCAC Beijing Summit is scheduled for September 3-4, under the theme of "China and Africa: Toward an even stronger community with a shared future through win-win cooperation."
Leaders from 53 African countries and the chairperson of the African Union (AU) Commission will be in attendance. United Nations' Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has been invited as a special guest to several events at the summit. Observers from 27 international and African organizations will also be present.
Respect, the cornerstone of China-Africa ties
Many African leaders acknowledge that the foundation of China-Africa friendship is built on the principles of mutual respect.
China values its friendship with African countries, or as Rwandan President Paul Kagame put it, "relationship is more precious than money."
"China relates to Africa as an equal," Kagame said during Xi's visit in July. "We see ourselves as people on the road to prosperity. China's actions demonstrate that you see us in the same way. This is a revolutionary posture in world affairs."
Calling African countries brothers, China shows its respects from something basic, like supporting their independent decisions.
"African countries speak highly of China's proposition of respecting their efforts in solving African problems on their own," Guinean President Alpha Conde said in east China's Xiamen City last year.
During his visit to Beijing in April, Zimbabwe's President Emmerson Mnangagwa appreciated China for always standing by Zimbabwe.
"I will say thank you not only to the president of China but also the people of China for standing and supporting Zimbabwe during the hard times when the West imposed sanctions on us," Mnangagwa said.
The deep-rooted relationship also brings benefits to the two sides.
China has been cooperating with numerous African countries in areas including agriculture, industrialization, infrastructure, health and education. In fact, China stands as many African countries' largest trading partners. Ghana is one example.
"Chinese companies are proving to be very successful in their contribution to the development of our economy," Ghanaian President Nana Akufo-Addo said. "We believe the cooperation with China can give us great value, China too, gets its benefits from the cooperation with Africa."
The Ghanaian president added that he's looking forward to the upcoming summit and hoping to return to the Chinese capital.
"The mutuality between us and China, Africa and China, is going to be consolidated when we come to Beijing," Akufo-Addo said.