China-Africa Economic and Trade Cooperation (2013)
Updated: 2013-08-29 14:04
VI. Promoting Cooperation under the Multilateral Framework
In recent years, African countries have made intensified efforts to gain strength through unity and they have made substantial progress in terms of economic integration. China firmly supports Africa's self-enhancement through unity, and works hard to strengthen cooperation with the African Union (AU) and African sub-regional organizations in a variety of fields, including infrastructure development, capacity building and mechanism construction. At the same time, China joins other countries and international multilateral organizations in leveraging one another's advantages to the fullest to help African countries reduce poverty, develop economically, and promote social progress.
China works closely with the AU and African sub-regional organizations not only in traditional areas like infrastructure construction, agriculture and personnel training, but also in emerging fields like finance, disaster reduction and intellectual property. The relationship between China and the AU plays an important role in the China-Africa new-type strategic partnership. Early in the 1970s, China started to provide the Organization of African Unity (OAU, now AU) with assistance in a variety of forms, including money, materials, turn-key projects and training. Since the AU Commission joined the FOCAC in 2011, cooperation between China and the AU has been enhanced. China's largest construction aid project in Africa, the AU Conference Center, was inaugurated in January 2012, at which time the Chinese government decided to provide 600 million yuan in aid to the AU over the next three years.
In recent years, cooperation between China and African regional organizations has been strengthened and become institutionalized. Since 2011, the Chinese government has signed Framework Agreements on Economic and Trade Cooperation with both the East African Community (EAC) and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), to expand cooperation in promoting trade facilitation, direct investment, cross-border infrastructure construction and development aid. Evidence of China's efforts in the area of financial cooperation includes China's status as a member state of the African Development Bank (AfDB), the West African Development Bank, and the Eastern and Southern African Trade and Development Bank. China has promised to contribute 615 million U.S. dollars to the African Development Fund (ADF), which is the soft-loan window of the AfDB, and has actively participated in the ADF's Multilateral Debt Relief Initiative to support poverty reduction and regional integration in Africa. The China Development Bank (CDB) has signed an Agreement on Development Financing Cooperation with the Development Bank of Southern Africa, and an agreement to loan 60 million Euros to the West African Development Bank for the development of small and medium-sized enterprises in countries belonging to the West African Economic and Monetary Union (WAEMU). The Export-Import Bank of China and the Agricultural Bank of China have both signed cooperation framework agreements with the AfDB to cooperate on infrastructure project financing and the development of small and medium-sized enterprises. In addition, China has reached relevant agreements with African intellectual property organizations, laying a solid foundation for the advancement of China-Africa economic and trade relations.
China has joined forces with multilateral organizations including the United Nations (UN) and the World Bank (WB) to utilize one another's strengths to the fullest to aid Africa in the fields of agriculture, environmental protection and training. China was the first country to form a strategic alliance with the UNFAO to foster South-South cooperation. In 2008, China decided to contribute 30 million U.S. dollars to the UNFAO to set up a trust fund. This fund, which is particularly beneficial to Africa, is used to support South-South cooperation between China and African countries under the framework of the UNFAO Special Program for Food Security. By the end of 2012, under the said framework, China had sent many agricultural experts and technicians to Ethiopia, Mauritania and Mali to provide technical assistance in the areas of irrigation and water conservation, crop production, animal husbandry, aquaculture and agricultural product processing. By doing this, China has played an active role in improving the agricultural production capacities and food security of these countries. In addition, China works cooperatively on climate change and disaster reduction with international organizations, including the United Nations Environment Programme and the secretariat of the International Strategy for Disaster Reduction. In 2012, China promised to contribute US$10 million to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to provide technical assistance to Africa and improve the macroeconomic management of African countries. Chinese financial institutions established an all-round cooperation framework with the WB in May 2007. The two sides are carrying out feasibility studies on some infrastructure construction projects in African countries. Chinese financial institutions also maintain a good cooperative relationship with the International Finance Corporation (IFC), which is a member of the WB Group, to provide co-financing to telecommunications projects in West Africa and push forward the development of the communications industry in this region.
With an open mind, China has worked to enhance exchanges and mutual learning with other countries to explore practical cooperation in providing assistance to Africa. From 2009 to 2010, in partnership with the UK, China ran three peacekeeping police training classes in China and Ghana for African countries. In 2011, the tripartite agreement on the Liberian Tapeta Hospital cooperative project, signed by China, Egypt and Liberia, was fulfilled. According to the agreement, the Chinese government was responsible for maintaining medical equipment, and training medical, technical and managerial personnel for the hospital. The agreement required the Egyptian government to send two to five doctors to the hospital, and made the Liberian side responsible for the hospital's management and operation. This project has trained the backbone staff of the hospital and made outstanding contributions to its operation, winning universal praise.
In the future, China will work more closely with the AU and African sub-regional organizations to support Africa's economic integration and build the capacities of regional organizations. It will do this by promoting transnational and trans-regional infrastructure development and human resources development in Africa, and also by strengthening cooperation with the AfDB and African sub-regional financial institutions. At the same time, China will expand its international cooperative efforts to advance Africa's sustainable development, strengthen cooperation in the fields of agricultural development and climate change, and provide more support to Africa in ecological protection and environmental management.