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Vision China keeps eyes on Africa ties

By FU JING/BU YINGNA | China Daily | Updated: 2018-09-07 07:24
Jin Liqun, president of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, delivers a speech on Thursday in Beijing at the fourth session of Vision China, a series of talks hosted by China Daily. ZOU HONG/CHINA DAILY

China and Africa, which concluded a historic summit on Tuesday, are developing a "new form of multilateralism" to build their shared future, said a renowned European scholar on Thursday in Beijing.

David Gosset, founder of the Europe-China Forum, made the remarks at the fourth Vision China event, themed "China & Africa: Growing Together", at Beijing Language and Culture University.

"I'm a European from Paris, and I learned that China and Africa have had a historic event by inventing a new form of multilateralism, which is the right answer to unilateralism and de-globalization," he said.

Gosset said negative trends in the United States and Europe are "worrisome".

The 2018 Beijing Summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation featured eight major initiatives for China-Africa cooperation, with President Xi Jinping appealing for a closer China-Africa community with a shared future in the new era.

The Vision China event, hosted by China Daily, sparked in-depth discussions on how to better implement the summit outcomes and consensus reached by Chinese and African leaders, boost China-Africa friendly exchanges, enhance comprehensive cooperation and construct a community with a shared future.

Gosset joined fellow speakers Jin Liqun, president of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank; Hodan Osman Abdi, adviser to the president of Somalia and executive director of the Center for East African studies at Zhejiang Normal University; and Zahra R. Baitie, China director of Development Reimagined and founder of Beijing Africa Week.

Guo Weimin, vice-minister of the State Council Information Office; Zhou Shuchun, publisher and editor-in-chief of China Daily; Du Feijin, head of the publicity department of the Communist Party of China Beijing Municipal Committee; Wei Gang, director of strategic planning at Beijing Automotive Industry Holding Co; and Ni Haidong, Party chief of Beijing Language and Culture University, also attended the event together with an audience of around 1,000 people.

The importance and meaning of the two-day Beijing summit was emphasized by almost all guests and speakers.

While addressing the event, Guo Weimin, vice-minister of the State Council Information Office, said the success of the Beijing Summit opened a new chapter in the construction of the China-Africa community with a shared future, adding that Xi's important speech received extended applause from African countries and the international community.

Guided by the summit outcomes, China and Africa will enjoy deeper mutual trust, wider cooperation, and tighter bonds of friendship, he said.

As China continues to open up to the outside world and further promote the Belt and Road Initiative, it will firmly safeguard the open world economy and multilateral trading system, and will oppose trade protectionism and unilateralism, creating more opportunities for nations in Africa and worldwide, he added.

Du Feijin said in his address that Xi's speech at the Beijing Summit clearly showed the direction for building a closer China-Africa community with a shared future, which also draws a new blueprint for China-Africa cooperation.

Du said Beijing has fully integrated the city's advantageous resources, actively implemented the BRI and made a unique contribution to the development of China-Africa relations by deeply and actively participating in China-Africa cooperation.

Funds bring vitality

Jin Liqun said in his speech that the AIIB has a role to play in advancing China-Africa cooperation in years to come.

At the very beginning of his speech, before talking about China-Africa cooperation, Jin stressed the need to protect Africa's environment amid development.

"When they are building railways and roads, I always tell them not to disrupt the migration paths (of animals)," he said.

Noting that globalization is closely linked to human destiny, he said the AIIB, founded in 2016 in Beijing, has always adhered to the principles of openness, inclusiveness and cooperation. By investing in infrastructure and other productive sectors, he said, the bank helps strengthen economic ties within Asia, as well as between Asia and other regions, including Africa, Europe and Latin America, and contributes to high-quality BRI infrastructure projects.

The bank attaches great importance to Africa's development. In the second year of its establishment, the bank invested in an Egyptian solar power project, the AIIB's first investment project beyond Asia. African countries are very welcome to join the AIIB, Jin said.

He said the bank will continue to support African members in improving infrastructure connectivity, and transforming and upgrading their economies through sustainable infrastructure investments, including through partnership with the BRI. Such joint efforts will help African countries achieve broad-based economic and social development, he added.

Happiness connected

Hodan Osman Abdi graced the audience with a Somali proverb "One finger alone cannot wash a face", indicating the importance of China-Africa cooperation.

She said the China-Africa relationship has historically important significance.

Moreover, she praised the development path of China for being well-planned, and attributed China's success to this vision.

"How to understand a human community with a shared future? It means my happiness is connected to yours, my sorrow is connected to yours, in this way we are connected," she said.

She believed that through joint construction of the China-Africa community with a shared future, the two sides will march toward a more interconnected and interdependent situation.

Bridging gaps

Zahra R. Baitie said 1.3 billion Chinese people have always shared a common destiny with more than 1.2 billion African people.

But she said there is still a lot to be done to translate the bilateral understanding of "sincerity", "friendship", "equality" and a "common destiny" to the experience of everyday people. "I believe what needs to be done can be summed up by one word: 'openness'," said Baitie.

She anticipated further developments in China-Africa cooperation in the new era. The two sides should make the most of the tourism sector and expand the Chinese market for African-made products.

The level of cooperation can also be enhanced to achieve "co-creations" from project research and enterprise incubation, she said. More African institutions should be built in China to provide the country with services like financial technology innovation, cultural products and enterprise skills, Baitie added.

Going global

Wei Gang said Xi's important speech at the Beijing Summit laid out a new blueprint for development of the China-Africa comprehensive strategic partnership. He said that when going global, BAIC Group has always closely followed the lead of China's diplomacy.

The fourth Vision China event was hosted by China Daily in cooperation with BAIC Group, Beijing Language and Culture University and Snail Insurance.

Vision China was established in January. By inviting world-class political, business and academic speakers to tell China's story from global perspectives and discuss major global topics, it aims to become a broad platform to ensure China's voice is better heard in the new era as well as to build a new channel for responding to global concerns over China-related issues through profound debate.

Vision China strives to introduce Chinese solutions and Chinese wisdom as a source of a shared future for humanity.

On Sept 13, the fifth Vision China event, themed"40 Years On-China and the World", will be held in London.

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