Backgrounder: Forum on China-Africa Cooperation
2012-07-18 18:39

BEIJING, July 18 (Xinhua) -- The fifth Ministerial Conference of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) will be held from July 19 to 20 in Beijing.

The main agenda of the upcoming conference is to review the implementation of follow-up activities from the fourth ministerial conference of the FOCAC in 2009. The conference also plans to examine and adopt the "Beijing Declaration" and "Beijing Action Plan (2013-2015)" to define new cooperative programs to be undertaken over the next three years.

The following are the major events of the FOCAC in the past 12 years.

In October 2000, China and African countries launched the FOCAC as a platform for collective consultation, dialogue and partnership in the form of South-South cooperation, to further strengthen the friendly relations between the two sides, and jointly meet the challenges of the Millennium Development Goals and economic globalization.

The first FOCAC ministerial conference, held in Beijing in October 2000, was aimed at addressing globalization and enhancing cooperation between China and African countries. About 500 participants from China and 45 African countries that had diplomatic ties with China attended the conference.

The conference adopted two official documents, namely the Beijing Declaration and the Program for China-Africa Cooperation in Economic and Social Development. The documents provided a framework for the establishment of a new-type, long-term and stable partnership of equality and mutual benefit, and a blueprint for China-Africa cooperation in political, economic, social development and other fields in the years to come.

To strengthen the FOCAC mechanism and better implement its follow-up actions, China established its FOCAC Follow-Up Committee in December 2001. The committee is composed of senior officials from 21 ministries, state commissions, and agencies.

In December 2003, the second ministerial conference of the FOCAC was convened in Addis Ababa, the capital of Ethiopia. Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao attended the conference together with leaders and officials from 44 African countries and representatives of some international and African regional organizations.

The third ministerial meeting was held on Nov. 3, 2006, in Beijing as the final preparation for the Beijing Summit of the FOCAC held on Nov. 6, 2006.

At the Beijing summit, Chinese President Hu Jintao announced a package of major assistance, investment, trade and other key cooperation projects with Africa in an effort to forge a new type of strategic partnership and strengthen cooperation in more areas and at a higher level.

The fourth ministerial meeting of the forum, held in the Egyptian resort of Sharm el-Sheikh on Nov. 8-9, 2009, reviewed the implementation of the Beijing Declaration and the Program for China-Africa Cooperation in Economic and Social Development and two documents adopted during the first ministerial meeting.

The FOCAC, a collective consultation and dialogue mechanism between China and African countries, is the first of its kind in the history of Chinese-African relations and also a major future-oriented move taken by both sides in the context of South-South cooperation to seek common development in the new situation.

Under the framework of close partnership, trade between China and Africa last year 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.

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