Top diplomat lauds Beijing's role in fortifying relationships, trade
China's commitment to integrating Africa into the Belt and Road Initiative will significantly strengthen sustainable trade and investment relations between the continent and China, a senior South African diplomat said.
China's participation in infrastructure projects has been a boon to Africa's manufacturing sector, Dolana Msimang, South African ambassador to China, said in an interview with China Daily ahead of the Beijing Summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation to be held on Monday and Tuesday.
"These projects are regarded as game changers that will enable new economic activity on a significant scale and stimulate Africa's economic growth in line with our developmental objectives," Msimang said.
China has signed memorandums of understanding with nine African countries on cooperation in Belt and Road construction including South Africa, Madagascar and Egypt, while over 20 other African nations are in talks with China concerning cooperative agreements.
Noting that the BRI offers an opportunity to deepen China-Africa relations, the ambassador said it dovetails with Africa's own Agenda 2063, an initiative designed to fast-track the implementation of solutions on critical development issues, such as poverty, unemployment and inequality.
"I believe successful implementation of the BRI will boost global development and prosperity, better utilize China's capital and technology collaboration with other countries and help achieve win-win outcomes," she added.
In terms of Sino-African relations, the continent is satisfied with the current relations and the achievements seen thus far, she said.
"China has shown itself to be a trusted and willing partner in the relationship. The impetus is now for the African continent to immediately leverage off the opportunities provided by China in order to grow its economy," Msimang said.
Cooperation between China and Africa has been strengthened in such areas as industrialization, agricultural modernization, infrastructure, green development, poverty alleviation, public health, trade and investment facilitation, people-to-people and cultural exchanges as well as peace and security, the ambassador said.
She said she believes the FOCAC Beijing Summit "will be a success" and that friendship between Africa and China will be further consolidated so that the comprehensive strategic cooperative partnership between the two sides will be elevated to a higher level.
"In South Africa, we regard FOCAC as the premier platform to mediate trade and investment between China and Africa," she said.
South Africa is a co-chair of the FOCAC Beijing Summit.
"Inadequate infrastructure, lack of professional and skilled personnel, and funding shortages are three major bottlenecks holding back Africa's development," the ambassador said. "South Africa hopes that the summit will discuss mechanisms on how these could be addressed."
"As a developing country, China understands how difficult it is for a developing country to survive and thrive in the existing global system which is far from perfect," Msimang said. "China is ready to exchange development experiences and share development opportunities with African countries, including South Africa, to promote inclusive development."
FOCAC is by all standards an exemplary form of South-South cooperation, she added.