China will announce new measures to strengthen cooperation with Africa at the fifth Ministerial Conference of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) slated for July 19 to 20, Vice Foreign Minister Zhai Jun said on Thursday.
Zhai made the remarks in a speech entitled Broad Prospects for the New Type of China-Africa Strategic Partnership at the seventh Lanting Forum.
Chinese President Hu Jintao and several African leaders will attend the opening ceremony of the conference, where Hu will announce China's new measures to strengthen cooperation with Africa, which will cover such areas as investment, finance, assistance, African integration, peace and security, and people-to-people exchanges, said Zhai.
Under the theme of "building on past achievements and opening up new prospects for the new type of China-Africa strategic partnership", the two sides aim to achieve four objectives at the conference, he said.
Zhai said the two sides will take stock of the implementation of the follow-up actions of the fourth ministerial conference.
They will explore ways and means to deepen the new type of strategic partnership and further develop FOCAC, he said.
China and African countries will identify the priority areas of and main measures for China-Africa cooperation in the next three years and formulate an action plan accordingly, said Zhai.
They will also exchange views on major regional and international issues to better safeguard and expand common interests, he added.
In terms of conference outcomes, two documents will be released, which are the Beijing Declaration of the Fifth Ministerial Conference of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation and the Fifth Ministerial Conference of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation Beijing Action Plan(2013-2015), according to the Vice Foreign Minister.
Zhai said China-Africa relations have been growing at an unprecedented pace and become a highlight in China's diplomacy since the beginning of the new century.
China-Africa political relations have enjoyed all-round development, he said, citing that President Hu visited Africa four times, which took him to 18 African countries.
From 2007 to 2011, about 30 African heads of state or government and 20 speakers of parliament paid visits to or attended important activities in China.
China's relations with African regional organizations, the African Union in particular, have become a new bright spot in China-Africa relations, said Zhai.
China-Africa practical cooperation has yielded fruitful results, he said.
In 2011, trade between China and Africa reached 166.3 billion U.S. dollars, an increase of 16 times from the 2000 level, with Africa running a trade surplus of 20.1 billion U.S. dollars.
Tariff exemption and other measures adopted by China to boost African exports have begun to show effect, said Zhai.
In 2010, 49 African countries saw increase in their exports to China, and between 2000 and 2011, African exports to China have been growing rapidly, from 5.6 billion U.S. dollars to 93.2 billion U.S. dollars.
As of April this year, China's total direct investment in Africa reached 15.3 billion U.S. dollars, and more than 2,000 Chinese enterprises have invested or started business in 50 African countries.
Zhai said China-Africa cooperation on international and regional affairs has kept expanding.
China has intensified its engagement in Africa's peace and security affairs, he said.
China has maintained close communication and coordination with African countries at the UN Security Council, increased the number of Chinese peace-keepers to Africa, carried out escort missions in the Gulf of Aden and off the coast of Somalia, appointed a Special Representative of the Chinese Government on African Affairs, and actively engaged in the mediation of African hot-spot issues, Zhai noted.
Cultural and people-to-people exchanges between China and Africa have intensified, he said.
China and Africa have built a number of platforms to facilitate such exchanges, including the Chinese/African "Culture in Focus", Joint Research and Exchange Program, People's Forum and Think Tanks Forum.
Each year, in addition to over 5,000 Chinese government scholarships, more than 10,000 African students are coming to study in China on their own, said Zhai.
Some African friends have chosen to settle down or pursue their career in China, and some have even become sports or entertainment stars popular among the Chinese audience, he said, adding that such stories constitute the real driving force behind the growth of China-Africa relationship.
The FOCAC is a collective consultation and dialogue mechanism between China and African countries launched in 2000.
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