As runup for the upcoming session of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) in Senegal, the 10th China-Africa Think Tanks Forum kicked off in Hangzhou, East China's Zhejiang Province on Wednesday. The event aims to enhance the deep understanding between China and Africa, promote the development of China-Africa comprehensive strategic cooperative partnership, and build a closer China-Africa community with a shared future.
With the theme of "Strengthening Solidarity and Cooperation, Enhancing Innovation and Development to Build together a China-Africa Community with a Shared Future," the two-day conference brings together more than 200 political, academic, media and business representatives from China and 15 African countries, including South Africa, Senegal, Nigeria, Tanzania, Kenya, Morocco, Madagascar and Liberia, to engage in in-depth and extensive discussions.
This is the second time that the China-Africa Think Tanks Forum is held against the backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic. Last year, the forum was held in Beijing.
Deng Li, Assistant Minister of Foreign Affairs, said in his speech at the opening ceremony on Wednesday that cooperation between China and Africa in fighting the pandemic highlights the essence of the China-Africa community with a shared future.
"During the tough times when China fought the virus, African governments and people offered valuable help. When Africa needed help, China offered the largest-scale humanitarian support by sending vaccines, pandemic control supplies and medical teams. Now, China and Africa need solidarity and cooperation more than ever," said Deng.
On Thursday, three parallel forums will be held, with the themes of "The New Plan for FOCAC and the Establishment of a China-Africa Community with a Shared Future", "Promoting Urban Development in African Cities and Towns, Deepening China-Africa Digital Cooperation and Jointly Building the BRI" and "Promoting Unity between China and Africa in the Fight against COVID-19 by Improving the Health Governance Capacity and the Quality of Medical and Health Services".
The China-Africa Think Tanks Forum was established by the Institute of African Studies at Zhejiang Normal University in 2011 and was officially incorporated into the framework of FOCAC in 2012. The 10th China-Africa Think Tanks Forum is a runup event for the eighth FOCAC meeting that will be held in Senegal later this year.
In an interview with Xinhua News Agency and China Media Group early this year, Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister, Wang Yi, gave his account on the direction of China-Africa cooperation in 2021.
"China will work with Africa on the three priority areas of vaccine cooperation, economic recovery and transformative development to build new consensus on solidarity, break new ground for cooperation, and deliver new benefits to the people. China and Africa will stay good brothers supporting each other, good partners pursuing common development, and good comrades-in-arms standing together through good and bad times. I believe we will make new progress in building the China-Africa community with a shared future," Wang said.
Felix Mbayu, Minister Delegate to the Ministry of External Relations of the Republic Cameroon, said at the opening ceremony on Wednesday that, through mutual cooperation within the FOCAC framework, Africa and China can stimulate the necessary infrastructure and economic development required to boost African economic integration while facilitating the border goals of shaping a closer Africa-China community.