FOCAC EGYPT 8-9 November 2009
Vice President Joseph Belmont was one of the 17 African leaders, mainly Heads of State and Government, invited by Egypt and China to participate in the 4th Ministerial Meeting of the Forum of Cooperation China-Africa, that ended today in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt, after adopting a declaration and an action plan 2010-2012.
During this meeting, the first one of this importance since the China-Africa Summit held in Beijing in November 2006, and attended by President James Michel, Chinese Premier, Mr. Wen Jiabao announced 8 new measures to consolidate and enlarge China-Africa’s cooperation during the next three years.
In particular China has proposed to establish a China-Africa partnership in addressing climate change and it will hold senior officials’ consultations with African countries, enhance cooperation on satellite weather monitoring, development and utilization of new energy sources, prevention and control of desertification and urban environmental protection. China has also decided to build 100 clean energy projects for Africa covering solar power, bio-gas and small hydro-power.
Other measures include: enhanced cooperation with Africa in science and technology; the launching of a China-Africa science and technology partnership, under which 100 joint demonstration projects on scientific and technological research will be carried out; assistance in helping Africa building up financing capacity. It is to be noted that China will provide 10 billion U.S. dollars in concessional loans to African countries, and support Chinese financial institutions in setting up a 1 billion U.S. dollar special loan for small and medium-sized African businesses.
Besides, China will further open up its market to African products and enhance cooperation in agriculture. China will also deepen cooperation in medical care and health, and enhance cooperation in human resources development and education. In this framework, China will build 50 China-Africa friendship schools and train 1,500 school principals and teachers for African countries. By 2012, China will increase the number of Chinese government scholarships to Africa to 5,500, and will train a total of 20,000 professionals of various fields for Africa over the next three years.
Finally, China will expand people-to-people and cultural exchanges, through the launching of a China-Africa joint research and exchange program, which will enable scholars and think tanks to have more exchanges and cooperation, share development experience, and provide intellectual support for formulating better cooperation policies by the two sides.
In his speech, during the opening ceremony, Vice-President Belmont expressed the gratitude of the Government and People of China for the assistance Seychelles has benefitted from in the context of the Beijing Plan of Action 2006-2009.
Vice-President Belmont also thanked China for her support this year to the Indian Ocean Commission, following a request initiated by Seychelles when it was chairing the Commission 2 years ago.
Seychelles’ Head of Delegation also raised the attention of the Assembly on issues related to :
– piracy, stressing in particular the necessity of keeping maritime routes between Africa and China open and safe at all time,
– the vulnerability of small island states,
– climate change and the hope of African countries that China could play a major role as a consensus builder in Copenhagen next month, advocating the cause of developing countries,
– as well as the importance for African countries of having access to technologies developed in China to reduce dependency on fossile fuel and rely on renewable energy.
At the end of the conference it was announced that the 5th FOCAC Ministerial Meeting would be held in Beijing in 2012. South Africa has also proposed to host in 2015 the 6th FOCAC Ministerial Meeting.