5 September 2018: China and African countries agreed to strengthen their partnership during the 2018 Beijing Summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC). The Summit, which convened under the theme, ‘China and Africa: Toward an Even Stronger Community with Shared Future through Win-Win Cooperation,’ resulted in the adoption of the Beijing Declaration, ‘Toward an Even Stronger China-Africa Community with a Shared Future,’ and the FOCAC Beijing Action Plan 2019-2021.

Speaking during the Forum, which met from 3-4 September 2018, in Beijing, China, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres highlighted increased development cooperation between China and Africa, based on: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the African Union’s (AU) Agenda 2063. He commended China’s commitment to sharing its successes through, inter alia, the Belt and Road Initiative, which aims to strengthen infrastructure, trade and investment links between China and approximately 65 countries. Guterres highlighted five areas that are critical for the success of the China-Africa partnership: 1) reinforcing the foundations of Africa’s progress; 2) ensuring national ownership and African-led sustainable development; 3) South-South cooperation; 4) promoting sustainable fiscal policies; and 5) climate-friendly and climate-resilient development, including support for Africa to adapt to climate change and build resilience. [Statement of UN Secretary General] [UNECA News Story on Remarks of UN Secretary-General] [UN News Story on Summit]

In a keynote address, Chinese President Xi Jinping said China will implement eight major initiatives with African countries over the next three years related to industrial promotion, infrastructure connectivity, trade facilitation, green development, capacity building, health care, people-to-people exchanges, and peace and security. [Keynote Address of Chinese President Xi]

FOCAC Summit Co-Chair, South African President Cyril Ramaphosa said Africa can learn “valuable lessons” from China’s “impressive growth model and its approach to meeting people’s needs.” China has been South Africa’s largest trading partner for the past nine years, and South Africa is China’s largest trading partner in Africa. In 2017, bilateral trade amounted to US$39 billion. [Statement of South African President]

The Beijing Declaration emphasizes the need to create further synergies between the AU’s Agenda 2063, Belt and Road Initiative, 2030 Agenda and African countries’ development strategies.

Rwandan President Paul Kagame called on African countries to increase their sense of ownership of joint programmes by improving project management and increasing participation by the African private sector. [Statement of Rwandan President]

The Beijing Declaration and the Beijing Action Plan confirm that China and Africa will enhance cooperation to implement the eight initiatives outlined by President Xi. China will provide US$60 billion, US$15 billion of which will be grants, to accompany the Action Plan.

The declaration discusses China-Africa cooperation under the Belt and Road Initiative, which will accelerate African regional integration by generating more resources and expanding the market for African development, and emphasizes the need to create further synergies between the AU’s Agenda 2063, Belt and Road Initiative, 2030 Agenda and African countries’ development strategies.

The declaration welcomes the launching of African Anti-corruption Year, and states that China will “work with Africa” to fight illegal wildlife trade. China will continue to enhance Africa’s production capacity in the secondary and tertiary industries, and promote the transformation and upgrading of China-Africa economic and trade cooperation focusing on improving Africa’s internally driven growth and reducing reliance on the export of raw materials.

The declaration expresses support for: multilateralism, while noting opposition to unilateralism and protectionism; developing the African Continental Free Trade Area and Single African Air Transport Market; and African countries and regional organizations, such as the AU, to “independently resolve African problems.” The declaration also calls on developed countries to support African countries with funding, technology transfer and capacity building for climate change and environmental protection. [Post-Summit Press Release] [News Story on Adoption of Declaration and Action Plan] [News Story on Closing Press Conference] [News Story on Statements of Various African Leaders]

The Forum on African Energy Interconnection Development took place on the sidelines of the Summit, during which UN Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) Executive Secretary Vera Songwe underscored the role of global and African energy interconnection and clean energy development in achieving SDG 7 (clean and affordable energy). She highlighted the nexus between Africa’s regional transport corridors and cross-border interconnection. UNECA and the Global Energy Interconnection Development and Cooperation Organization (GEIDCO) signed a cooperation agreement establishing a framework for joint efforts in clean energy development and power grid interconnection in Africa. [UNECA News Story]

The AU mission in China was also officially inaugurated on 2 September in Beijing. [Statement of AU Commission Chair]

FOCAC has been promoting China-Africa relations since 2000, convening two Summits prior to 2018: in Beijing in 2006 and in Johannesburg, South Africa, in 2015. The Eighth FOCAC Ministerial Conference will convene in Senegal in 2021. China will host the second Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation in 2019. [Summit Website]