$60bn assistance package illustrates China’s commitment to Africa
The $60bn assistance package for Africa announced by Chinese President Xi Jinping on Friday clearly illustrates China’s commitment to ensure that its development takes place in conjunction with the developing countries of the South‚ particularly those in Africa‚ says President Jacob Zuma.
He was speaking at the conclusion of Summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) which he said had taken the relationship between Africa and China to its highest level ever.
At the beginning of the Johannesburg summit‚ President Xi announced a major and historic concrete development partnership plan with Africa comprising 10 priority programmes aimed at addressing three of the primary bottlenecks hindering Africa’s development‚ namely the lack of infrastructure‚ skilled personnel and funding.
The ten initiatives specifically identified for cooperation over the next three years to address these bottlenecks include‚ industrialisation‚ agricultural modernisation‚ infrastructure‚ finance‚ green development‚ trade and investment facilitation‚ poverty eradication and people’s wellbeing‚ public health‚ people-to-people and cultural exchanges‚ and peace and security.
A package of capital assistance to support the ten areas to the tune of $60bn was announced. This includes grants‚ preferential and concessional loans‚ a China-Africa industrial cooperation fund and debt relief.
“This is a significant amount. It clearly illustrates China’s commitment to ensure that China’s development takes place in conjunction with the developing countries of the South‚ particularly those in Africa‚” said President Zuma.
He noted that President Xi had also expressed strong support for peace and security in Africa including the fight against terrorism in the continent.
“You have also voiced your strong and unambiguous support for the African Union position that all peace efforts must be led by Africa and that solutions to Africa’s problems must come from Africa.”
He added that the Chinese president had also made a pledge in the United Nations General Assembly to provide concrete material support for African peace missions‚ which will be African-led.
Referring to China’s declaration in September that its military might would be used for peace‚ to prevent wars and to support vulnerable countries‚ President Zuma noted that the Asian super power already had peacekeepers on the ground in Africa.
“We certainly look forward to continuing to work with China to build peace in Africa‚” he added.
Referring to the FOCAC partnership‚ President Zuma stated: “We fully support this new high and more focused level of the partnership.
It has the potential to significantly enhance the African Continental agenda‚ as embodied in African Union Agenda 2063 and its First 10-Year Implementation Plan.
“The AU Agenda includes the commitments to support railway and road infrastructure‚ power generation and distribution networks‚ industrial and technology parks and human resources development‚ to name but a few.
“There is also the commitment to significantly enhance trade and investment rates.
“The AU agenda also supports peace and stability.
“Africa wishes to achieve a united‚ prosperous and peaceful Africa; a better Africa in a better world. FOCAC clearly responds to these imperatives.
“The announcements made by President Xi to the Summit also respond to these imperatives.
“We are therefore aligned and are on the same path towards development and progress.”
President Zuma concluded by saying that the announcements and agreements made at the summit must translate to concrete action and outcomes that would be felt by the people of the two regions.
“In this regard‚ our implementation mechanisms should ensure that we see swift action and that an effective monitoring and evaluation is undertaken.”
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