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Forum emphasizes benefits of BRI, financing in China-Africa relations

By Luan Ruiying | | Updated: 2022-07-25 18:16
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On July 21, the first Sub-forum of the 11th Meeting of the China-Africa Think Tanks Forum on "The Belt and Road Initiative and China-Africa Cooperation on Financing for Development" was successfully held online and offline. The forum was jointly organized by the Institute of African Studies at Zhejiang Normal University and the foreign affairs office of the Jinhua government. Officials, scholars, journalists, business representatives and overseas students from China and 13 African countries gathered online to share their experiences and offer suggestions for the high-quality development of China-Africa cooperation in development financing. The forum was broadcast live with over 130,000 participants online.

Zheng Mengzhuang, president of Zhejiang Normal University, said by focusing on the Belt and Road Initiative and China-Africa cooperation in development financing, the forum was relevant and meaningful. Zheng also expressed his hope participants from all sectors could communicate and share their wisdom so as to make new contributions to promoting China-Africa financing cooperation, advancing the BRI and building a closer China-Africa community with a shared future.

Yetunde Aina, CEO and creative director of Jadeas Trust in Nigeria, said stories of China-Africa relations should be jointly narrated by the Chinese and African people, as only in this way can misinformation from Western narratives be strongly refuted. Aina added the forum is becoming an important platform for exchanges, direct dialogues and the building of the discourse system of China-Africa development and cooperation.

Moussa Mara, Mali's former prime minister, said financial collaboration provides an important opportunity for future China-Africa cooperation. "There will be no development without financing and investing," he said, adding the topic of this forum echoes with the implementation of the BRI and China-Africa strategic cooperation, and is critical for global future development.

Ling Zhifeng, secretary of the CPC Jinhua Municipal Committee, pointed out economic, trade and cultural cooperation between Jinhua and African countries have a solid foundation. In the future, Jinhua will continue to expand its cooperation with African countries in economic and trade cooperation, cultural exchanges and other areas to build itself into a transit point for Africa to expand its presence and enlarge Jinhua's circle of friends in Africa.

António Serifo Embaló, ambassador of Guinea-Bissau to China, observed China-Africa cooperation has initiated a new paradigm of international cooperation under the framework of the BRI, which has not only accelerated bilateral cooperation in terms of culture, scientific and technological innovation, digital cooperation and the green economy, among others, but also profoundly boosted global development.

Gu Jianxin, secretary of the CPC Party Group and director-general of the Department of Foreign Affairs of the Zhejiang People's Government, noted by sticking to opening-up and self-improvement, Zhejiang has achieved fruitful results in its cooperation and exchanges with Africa. In the future, Zhejiang will continue to leverage its advantages in building the Zhejiang Pilot Free Trade Zone, Free Trade Port, and the "Yiwu-Ningbo-Zhoushan" Grand Open Channel, actively participate in the Belt and Road Initiative, put the three-year action plan on Zhejiang-Africa cooperation in place, and make positive contributions to building a closer China-Africa community with a shared future.

Tong Qing, executive vice-president of the China-Africa Fund for Industrial Cooperation, said considering the latest revolution in science and technology and the adjustment in the industrial structure, China and Africa need to continuously explore new space for cooperation in such areas as infrastructure, integrating industrial and supply chains, telemedicine and the digital economy, with special focus on green and low-carbon investment to achieve green supply.

Christine Musisi, resident representative of the UNDP Tanzania, said China-Africa cooperation is of vital importance for filling funding gaps to realize Africa's sustainable development goals. China and Africa are expected to join hands to build a resilient, inclusive, equal and sustainable future.

As one of its initiators, Liu Hongwu, a Changjiang scholar and director of IASZNU, said the forum has attracted more than 1,000 African scholars since its establishment 11 years ago. On this open, equal and sharing platform to exchange thoughts, scholars from China and Africa are gradually developing problem awareness and independent consciousness, formulating independent discourse and theories and their own discourse concepts, which have consolidated the ideological basis for China-Africa cooperation.

Experts spoke highly of the Global Development Initiative and the BRI, as well as the current development and prospects of China-Africa cooperation. At the same time, they pointed out there are still challenges facing China-Africa cooperation. They expressed a belief China and Africa need to expand new areas of cooperation in the future with special attention paid to green development, promote deep integration of private sectors into various fields through mechanisms and policy innovation and facilitate the investment and financing channels of Chinese financial institutions in Africa via an open and integrated platform to make financing flow effectively to the production sector and bring real growth.

During the conference, the first China-Africa Exchanges Museum was officially launched. The museum, to be opened at Zhejiang Normal University, aims to visualize China-Africa relations. With a planned area of around 400 square meters, it is scheduled to be open by the end of this year. There were also exhibitions of Jinhua Africa-related cooperation achievements and Africa-related research achievements of Zhejiang Normal University.

Held under the framework of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation, the China-Africa Think Tanks Forum was founded by the Institute of African Studies at Zhejiang Normal University with the support of the Foreign Ministry in 2011 and held its first meeting in Hangzhou. So far, it has been annually held in China, Ethiopia, South Africa, Senegal and other countries for over 10 years, effectively promoting mutual understanding and enhancing cooperation between China and Africa.

Yuan Jiayi also contributed to this story.

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