China, Africa seek greater cooperation under FOCAC

ADDIS ABABA. – Chinese and Ethiopian officials have called for enhancing the multifaceted cooperation between China and Africa under the framework of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC).

The call was made at a high-level conference titled “Revisiting Ethiopia’s Role in the FOCAC and the Way Forward” in Addis Ababa on Tuesday.

Speaking at the event, Eshete Tilahun, head of the Office of the Ethiopian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said FOCAC has proven to be an effective and strong platform for promoting Africa-China cooperation by supporting critical infrastructure development, enhancing connectivity, boosting trade activities, attracting foreign direct investment, and fostering entrepreneurship across Africa.

“Since its inception in 2000, FOCAC has been instrumental in fostering cooperation. It is a testament to the shared aspiration, mutual respect, and collaborative spirit between China and Africa.”

Tilahun said through FOCAC, Africa and China have embarked on a journey marked by dialogue, exchange of views, and joint efforts aimed at promoting sustainable development through the expansion of infrastructure and people-to-people connectivity.

Yang Yihang, minister counsellor at the Chinese Embassy in Ethiopia, said with the FOCAC framework serving as a strong catalyst, China-Africa cooperation has achieved fruitful results, making China Africa’s largest trade partner for 15 consecutive years.

He noted that by the end of 2023, more than 500 Chinese enterprises had invested in over 2,000 projects in Ethiopia, with a cumulative investment of about US$5 billion, creating 580 000 job opportunities.

Highlighting the need for African countries to create a favourable business environment, Yang said China will further encourage Chinese companies to seize investment opportunities in Ethiopia and Africa in general, and actively explore investment cooperation in infrastructure, the digital economy, renewable energy, and agriculture, among other areas.

Anteneh Getachew, director general of Asia and Pacific Affairs at the Ethiopian Institute of Foreign Affairs, said the conference aims to assess Ethiopia’s “unreserved” approach to promoting multifaceted cooperation between Africa and China through the FOCAC platform.

He said the conference, organized by the Ethiopian Institute of Foreign Affairs and the Chinese Embassy in Ethiopia, will explore future areas of cooperation and enhance Ethiopia’s role in the FOCAC platform.

Last week Kenya hosted the China-Africa Economic and Trade Expo (CAETE) in Africa in Nairobi as trade and investment between the two sides continue to expand.

The event in Kenya attracted a high-level delegation from central China’s Hunan Province.

Rebecca Miano, cabinet secretary for the Ministry of Investments, Trade and Industry, said the three-day event is a living testament to the long-standing cooperation and friendship between China and Africa. “The real focus of the event is to serve as a catalyst for unlocking Africa’s unexplored potential by seamlessly connecting with China’s investment and trade community.”– Xinhua

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