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Consensus adds glue to Africa ties

Wang Yi stresses China engagement in message that resonates at FOCAC talks

Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi has hailed a consensus reached at a major platform for China-Africa cooperation that is destined to broaden the friendship between the two sides.

Wang was speaking on Tuesday after Chinese officials and African foreign ministers engaged in detailed discussions at the Eighth Ministerial Conference of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation, or FOCAC, in Dakar, Senegal.

In a news conference after the plenary session in the Senegalese capital, Wang said the fact that Chinese President Xi Jinping addressed the forum in a keynote speech fully demonstrates that China attaches great importance to relations between China and Africa.

“No matter how the international situation may change and what difficulties and obstacles China and Africa may encounter, the two sides will remain strongly committed to strengthening mutual political trust and deepening practical cooperation so that the spirit of China-Africa friendship and cooperation will be carried forward and passed on from generation to generation,” Wang said.

Wang”s comments resonated with Senegal’s Foreign Minister Aissata Tall Sall, who said the time has come for Africa to further consolidate its achievements by strengthening relations with China. In this way, the continent can achieve a shared prosperity for the well-being of the people.

“Dakar will mark a turning point in terms of form, content, and innovative mechanisms to better adjust, work better, and monitor cooperation between Africa and China,” Sall said. “We had very serious debates where everyone expressed themselves in the freest way and adopted in a consensual manner, the conclusions at which we arrived.”

She said that for FOCAC to remain a partnership for development and prosperity, both sides have resolved to focus their next action plan around major priorities that must be achieved without delay.

China supports the idea that FOCAC’s agenda should align with that of the African Union’s Agenda 2063 in order to help Africa pursue major regional integration projects that will promote harmonious development, Sall said.

Wang said that China, while intensifying cooperation in traditional areas, will upgrade the cooperation to meet the most urgent demands for development from African countries, covering areas such as health, livelihoods, green development, digital economy and capacity building.

On the health front, China promised to support Africa in the fight against COVID-19 by supplying a further 1 billion COVID-19 vaccine doses to help the continent achieve its target of vaccinating 60 percent of Africans by the end of next year.

‘Major move’

“This major move caters to the greatest concern from African countries at the moment, and has won high evaluations from African leaders and representatives. China will, as always, honor its commitment with action,” Wang said.

China was the first country to declare that its COVID-19 vaccines will be supplied as a global public good, and was one of the first to start providing vaccines to other countries in need, Wang said.

The country has provided more than 1.8 billion doses to more than 120 countries and international organizations, including 180 million doses for Africa, Wang said.

He drew attention to vaccine inequality. The overall vaccination rate in Africa is less than 20 percent of the global average, a deficit that should be corrected, Wang said.

“COVID-19 vaccine production capacity in China keeps rising, which can ensure the supply of vaccines to Africa,” he said. “Of all the 5.6 billion doses administrated globally outside China, one-third was provided by China.”

In Dakar, the two sides also resolved to work together to practice true multilateralism. China and Africa will continue to firmly support each other on issues of core interests and major concerns, Wang said.

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