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Ambassador Liu Yuxi received an interview by ChinaAfrica
2021-11-02 22:43

On November 2, Ambassador Liu Yuxi received an interview by ChinaAfrica, made comments on the development of the African Union, relations between China-AU, the new FOCAC Meeting, China-Africa cooperation in poverty reduction and solidarity against COVID-19. The full text is as follows:

After 21 years of development, the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) will convene a new meeting in Senegal. On this occasion, ChinaAfrica spoke to Liu Yuxi, head of the Chinese Mission to the African Union (AU), and invited him to share his views on the development of FOCAC and China-Africa ties. An edited excerpt of the interview follows:

ChinaAfrica: Can you introduce the current relations between China and the AU?

Liu Yuxi: The AU is the most representative and internationally influential intergovernmental organization in Africa, and it is the banner of Africa’s unity and self-improvement. The AU adheres to multilateralism, actively promotes peace and development in Africa, advances the integration process, and coordinates with African countries to combat the COVID-19 pandemic, demonstrating significant influence in regional and international affairs. 

China always attaches great importance to the development of relations with the AU, regards the AU as an important partner in promoting China-Africa friendship and cooperation, and firmly supports the AU in playing a greater role in African and international affairs. The relationship between China and the AU is strategically important. In July this year, Chairperson of AU Commission Moussa Faki Mahamat sent a congratulatory letter to Xi Jinping, General Secretary of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee, on the 100th anniversary of the founding of the CPC, and at the end of September, Faki sent another congratulatory letter to Xi on China’s National Day. Faki also attended via video link the National Day online reception hosted by our delegation for the first time and delivered an enthusiastic speech. All these reflect the high level of political mutual trust between China and the AU. 

In addition, the two sides have long maintained communication and coordination on major international issues such as climate change, the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and other pressing problems in Africa. Cooperation in building the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) and safeguarding international justice has been strengthened. China has also provided assistance to the AU in institutional capacity building, peacekeeping operations, as well as the construction of the AU Conference Center and the African Center for Disease Control and Prevention. It has also supported the AU in implementing its strategy to combat the COVID-19 pandemic in Africa. 

China will continue to work closely with the AU and African countries to expand cooperation in an all-round way. 

How do you see the development of FOCAC since its launch in 2000?

FOCAC has become a booster of ChinaAfrica friendship. Under the framework of the forum, China-Africa high-level interaction has intensified. Political mutual trust has continued to deepen, and cooperation has delivered results. China-Africa relations evolved from a new type of partnership to a new type of strategic partnership and then a comprehensive strategic and cooperative partnership. 

China has been the largest trading partner of Africa for 12 consecutive years. According to a recently released report on Chinese investment in Africa, China’s direct investment in Africa has grown by more than 25 percent annually on average over the past 20 years. During the pandemic period, China’s investment in Africa has grown from $2.71 billion in 2019 to $2.96 billion in 2020, defying the overall global trend. These investments have made outstanding contributions to the social stability and economic prosperity of African countries. 

The 10 major cooperation plans and Eight Major Initiatives jointly formulated and implemented by China and Africa have pushed the cooperation to an unprecedented level. With African countries and the AU Commission joining the BRI, a large number of new flagship projects, such as the AU Conference Center, the Addis Ababa-Djibouti Railway and the Mombasa-Nairobi Standard Gauge Railway, have been completed and put into use in Africa. Cooperation in the Fields of science, education, culture, health, peace and security has been developed comprehensively, with important achievements. 

People-to-people exchanges between China and Africa have also become more frequent than ever. China-Africa Youth Gala, Think Tank Forum and other activities have been successfully held, and the China-Africa Institute has been offcially opened. China has provided about 120,000 government scholarships to African countries, dispatched 21,000 medical team members to 48 African countries and treated about 220 million patients. It has established 150 pairs of friendship cities. The public opinion foundation of China-Africa friendship has been consolidated. 

What efforts has China made to implement the fruit of the FOCAC Beijing Summit in 2018? What are your expectations for the future development of FOCAC? 

At the 2018 Beijing Summit of FOCAC, President Xi announced the Eight Major Initiatives to promote the building of a closer China-Africa community with a shared future. By July this year, Chinese enterprises have invested an additional $9.5 billion in Africa since the 2018 Beijing Summit. A number of major projects by China have been completed or are being implemented, which have improved infrastructure and connectivity in Africa. 

In terms of trade facilitation, the China Mauritius Free Trade Agreement has officially entered into force. China invited African countries and enterprises to participate in the China International Import Expo and other exhibitions. China has also taken the initiative to expand agricultural imports from Africa, helping Africa boost its export capacity and improve its trade balance. 

In the area of health, China has actively supported African countries in their fight against the pandemic. The construction of the headquarter building of the African Center for Disease Control started ahead of schedule in December last year. 

In addition, cooperation on green development, capacity building, people-to-people exchanges, and peace and security has also achieved positive results. The upcoming FOCAC meeting is expected to create new opportunities to deepen cooperation in infrastructure, trade and investment, and create new highlights in the building of the free trade area, digital economy, e-commerce and 5G on the African continent. 

What are the results of the cooperation between China and African countries in poverty alleviation? 

China is committed to eliminating its own poverty while actively participating in international cooperation on poverty reduction through expert exchanges, cooperative research and technical assistance. China has assisted African countries in building water conservancy infrastructure, vocational and technical schools and other facilities, creating agricultural cooperation zones, and promoting the implementation of projects. China also cooperated with UNESCO to implement rural education research and teacher training projects in Africa. 

In June this year, the Chinese Mission to the AU, the UN Economic Commission for Africa and the China-Africa Institute jointly organized a webinar focusing on celebrating the 100th anniversary of the founding of the CPC and China-Africa cooperation on poverty alleviation. At the seminar, Chinese delegates shared Chinese solutions for poverty alleviation, which provided references for the poverty reduction practices in Africa. 

I said at the seminar that China will continue to uphold the concept of building a community with a shared future for humanity, actively carry out international cooperation, fulfill our international responsibility, and strive to be a strong promoter of poverty reduction in Africa. In the post-pandemic era, China will continue to share its experience in poverty alleviation with African friends in various ways. 

Can you introduce the cooperation between China and Africa in the fight against the pandemic? 

Since the outbreak of the pandemic, China and Africa have consolidated their friendship and mutual trust. China has provided batches of emergency pandemic prevention supplies and tens of millions of doses of vaccines to African countries, while cooperating on local vaccine production in Egypt, Morocco and other African countries. China has supported African countries’ call to waive intellectual property protections of COVID-19 vaccines and fulfilled its commitment to making vaccines a global public health product. Our mission has also donated 15,000 doses of domestic vaccines to the AU, handed out several batches of pandemic prevention materials to the AU and the UN Economic Commission for Africa, and made efforts to coordinate anti-epidemic experience exchanges between China and African countries. 

On September 21, President Xi announced at the General Debate of the 76th Session of the UN General Assembly that China will strive to provide a total of 2 billion doses of vaccines to the world by the end of this year. In addition to donating $100 million to COVAX, China will donate 100 million doses of vaccines to other developing countries in the course of this year. 

Africa is an important part of the global fight against the pandemic. We also call on the international community to pay attention to the severe challenges brought by the pandemic and work with African countries to overcome the pandemic together.  

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