President Muhammadu Buhari is expected to speak at the opening ceremony of the upcoming Forum on China Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) scheduled for September 3 and 4 respectively in Beijing, China.
Buhari will give his address alongside four heads of state from each sub region in Africa during the business summit.
Fifty-three African nations having bilateral ties with China are expected at the summit tagged, ‘Toward an Even Stronger Community with a Shared Future through Win-Win Cooperation.’
The summit will see several matters brought to the forefront to help advance China-Africa relations.
A Jean Monet chair professor at Renmin University of China, Wang Yiwei, in an interview, pointed out that his country had a lot to offer its African partners.
“In terms of what China can offer, I think it’s the Chinese experience. For instance, if you want to get rich, build a road, that is, building infrastructure. But infrastructure costs lots of money – they need technicians, technology. China, which has strong state-owned enterprises, thinks about long term and can do that.
“It’s not just about infrastructure but also clusters of the industries. It’s about industrialisation. Without industrialisation, democratisation, among others, revolution is going to fail. That’s the experience, it’s very important for Africa.
“In terms of what else China can offer, China can help African countries in industrialisation, agricultural modernisation. China can assist in lifting up poverty and reach the goal of the African 2063 and United Nations 2030 sustainable development goals. I think that, basically, this can be a win-win situation.
“As for the summit, I think we can have more investments, more ideas and more projects on the basis of the 2015 Johannesburg 10-point plan,” he said.
A political analyst and senior fellow at the Pangoal Institution, Qinduo Xu, said that the summit was a good opportunity for both sides to advance their interests in a collaborative manner.
He said: “As we know, China and Africa will avail themselves of this opportunity to review the progresses made during the past three years under the 10 cooperation plans proposed in Johannesburg in 2015.
“But most importantly, the focus will be what they’re going to do for the next three years following the Beijing summit. So the leaders will work out areas of priorities and key sectors for both sides to work on and invest in.
“The Chinese side has its strength and advantages in agriculture, infrastructure construction and manufacturing sector. African countries have their own strength, including rich resources, to conduct cooperation between the two sides.
“There’s a need to focus on cultivating the capability for Africa to develop on its own, which will be sustainable and long-term, and speeding up the industrialisation and modernisation process by taking advantage of the trend that some of Chinese manufacturing are shifting overseas, and there’s growing outbound investment from China.”
Xu noted that, in his keynote speech, the Chinese President Xi Jinping is expected to elaborate on new ideas and initiatives in reinforcing China-Africa relationship, and new measures and actions to deepen the cooperation between the two sides.
“I expect all those new measures will better align the joint construction of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), Agenda 2063 of AU, UN’s 2030 Agenda and the development strategies of African countries. In short, it’s about how China and Africa can work together even better based the needs and national development goals of each other.
“In addition, there’ll be more proposals and plans to boost people-to-people exchanges between China and African countries. The bond between peoples are the solid foundation for China-Africa relationship to go deeper and further. In this sense, it may be easier to understand why the two sides are committed to the building of a China-Africa community of shared future.
“China-Africa relationship has been strong and progresses have been made over the past decades. But there’s tremendous potential to be tapped for an even better future for our countries and peoples. The Beijing summit will prove to be another important step in upgrading the ties between China and Africa,” he said.
On China-Nigeria ties, Qinduo indicated, “China-Nigeria cooperation has been fruitful, as evidenced in the Abuja-Kaduna railway, the Abuja rail mass transit project and other projects. Nigeria could do more, for example, to better understand the Belt and Road Initiative so as to take advantage of BRI to build the necessary infrastructure to unleash the huge development potential of Nigeria.
“As the largest country in Africa, Nigeria could play an active role in BRI cooperation, to seize the opportunities at the FOCAC to draw more investment in agriculture, infrastructure, manufacturing, energy and other areas.
From China’s own experience, from a poor country to world’s second largest economy, foreign investment plays an important role in national development by not only creating jobs but also boosting revenues.
“After the Beijing Summit, there’ll be China’s first International Import Expo in Shanghai; Nigerian businesses should not miss the opportunity to exhibit their products and services to the Chinese traders and consumers. China is predicted to be the largest retail market this year, overtaking the United States. By exporting more to China, there’ll be more jobs and better income for local people.
The director, China Africa Press Centre (CAPC), and an expert on China-African relations, Chen Zhe, in an interview, said this of FOCAC: “Of course, as an ordinary Chinese citizen who has contributed to the media exchange between China and African countries, I expect more people-to-people exchange in the field of press, to see more connection in the form of CAPC have birth (to be delivered) after Beijing Summit.
“Surely, FOCAC will announce solid plans in several domains where both can promote the China-Africa relationship. But as the saying goes, the basis of bilateral relations is the social and cultural communication. As such, in this regard, I do hope more and more African media friends as well as Chinese homologues can visit and even live for a long time in China or Africa in order to convey a more vivid and true story about China and Africa to their readers.”
Andrew Moody, senior correspondent at China Daily, China’s leading English language newspaper who will be reporting from the meeting, said the summit could be a key one.
“Everybody will be looking for pointers as to how the relationship between China and the continent is now going to develop.”