Beijing Holds Senior Officials Meeting in Preparation for FOCAC Summit in 2024

From 23 to 24 October 2023, China hosted the 16th Senior Officials Meeting of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) in preparation for the #FOCAC Summit in 2024. The meeting was co-chaired by WU Peng, Director-General of the Department of African Affairs of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of China and Ibrahim Sylla, Ambassador of Senegal to China.

Senior officials from 53 African countries as well as representatives from the African Union (AU) and other regional or international organizations attended the meeting. In total, nearly 300 participants were present for the event.

During the opening ceremony, the Chinese Deputy Foreign Affairs Minister Deng Li and the Senegalese President’s Chief Foreign Affairs Adviser Oumar Demba Ba delivered keynote addresses.

In his speech, Deputy Minister Deng underscored the fruitful outcomes of FOCAC since its inception in 2000. He highlighted certain recent projects such as the African Center for Disease Control (CDC) in Ethiopia, the 750-MW Kafue Gorge Lower Hydroelectric Plant in Zambia and the Foundiougne Bridge in Senegal.

In a bid to boost trade, China has signed agreements with 21 African countries to bring down custom tariffs to zero for up to 98% of product categories. In addition, China has authorized the import of 18 agricultural products from 12 African countries via the Green Corridor Program. China remains the country with the largest trade volume with Africa for the last consecutive 14 years with an aggregate trade amounting to USD 282 billion in 2022.

Chinese DG of African Affairs, WU Peng

Africa has set down its priorities for development in the following areas:

  • Industrialization via enhanced Local Value Addition (#LVA)
  • Modernization of agriculture
  • Development of talent

In the area of Talent Development, it is worth noting that China has opened 16 Luban Workshops across Africa to promote Technical and Vocational Education and Training (#TVET). So far, 12,600 African youngsters have benefited from capacity building programs organized by China.

Africa is willing to coordinate with China to prepare for the 9th FOCAC Summit planned for 2024. African leaders wish to see a closer alignment of AU #Agenda2063 with China’s 2nd Centenary Goal in order to jointly build ‘a high-quality China-Africa community with a shared future.’