South Africa will host the 6th Ministerial Conference of the Forum on China- Africa Cooperation (Focac) in 2015.
The conference will focus on implementing issues discussed at the recent 5th Focac Conference in Beijing.
South Africaâ€™s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Maite Mashabane, told a news conference in Beijing after the conference that meeting in her country was a positive development to strength the China- Africa relationship on a win-win formula.
Mashabane said South Africa as co-chair of Focac would do all it could to lead in the promotion and strengthening of the cooperation.
Chinese Foreign Affairs Minister Yang Jiechi told journalists at the news conference that the two-day 5th Ministerial Conference of Focac adopted two documentsâ€”the Beijing Action Plan and Beijing Declarationâ€”which spell out both political and economic areas to strengthen ties between the two parties.
The Beijing Declaration outlines political areas of interest between China and Africa, while the Beijing Action Plan stipulates socio-economic areas to be implemented over the next three years.
“The document stipulates that Chinese companies operating in African countries should strictly adhere to activities that will ensure sustainable development and principle of mutual benefit is achieved,” Yang said.
He said Chinese companies would also promote technological transfer, value addition to African products, environmental protection, social responsibility and respect for African culture, traditions and laws.
Strong South-South relations
In his speech when he opened the Focac Conference, Chinese President Hu Jintao said China and African countries were keen on strengthening South-South relations for mutual benefit for citizens of the affected countries.
The three-year strategic plan mainly focuses on education, health, water, human resource development, research, infrastructure, tourism, media, investment, manufacturing and agriculture sectors to spur economic development in African countries.
African governments are, therefore, required to state projects of their choice for implementation over the next five years, said Hu.
According to President Hu, African countries will also benefit from scholarships and youth and academic exchange programmes with China.
Under the new plan, the Chinese government has pledged to waive tariffs on up to 95 percent of goods from Africa to its market as a means of balancing trade between the two parties.
Statistics released by the countryâ€™s Foreign Affairs Ministry show that the volume of trade from Africa to China hit $95 billion last year and, according to the Chinese government, African waiving tariffs on African goods will reduce the existing gap.
Volume of trade from China to Africa hit $160 billion last year.
Director general of African affairs in the Chinese Foreign Affairs Ministry, Lu Shaye, said the Chinese government after consultations with African leaders weaved together strategies that would make the co-operation a win-win.
Before Focac, the Chinese government hosted representatives of non-governmental organisations (NGOs), civil society and the media, which came up with a raft of proposals aimed at bringing on board non-State actors in China-Africa ties.
If adopted, NGOs in Africa will also receive funds and capacity support from the Chinese government through China-NGO network for international exchange.
Fighting low-standard goods
However, China is still grappling with criticism of low-standard goods that find their way into African market.
During the Focac meeting, the Chinese government pledged to crackdown on production of low-quality goods to improve credibility of its goods in the international market.
Besides crackdown on industries producing low standard goods, the Chinese government pledged to boost the capacity of custom departments of African countries to impound counterfeit goods at the point of entry.
President Hu said Chinese government would work with the African Union (AU) and other regional economic community in Africa to promote integration and stability on the continent.
To promote integration, Chinese companies will start focusing on trans-national and trans-regional projects.
In his speech, Zuma underscored that the co-operation between China and Africa was mutual and called on Focac to expedite various development plans by African countries.
He said during the recent AU Summit in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, priority projects were identified to promote stability and integration of the continent. He called on Focac to support their implementation.