Victoria town represented at China-Africa forum


The Seychelles delegation in a working lunch with WTCF delegates

This special forum was convened in the wake of the fifth Ministerial Meeting of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (Focac) that was held last month bringing together local government representatives from 40 Chinese and African capital cities.

Victoria was represented by its mayor, Jacqueline Moustache Belle, and the Seychelles resident ambassador to China Philippe Le Gall.

Aimed at strengthening China-Africa friendship, the forum hopes to establish 220 pairs of friendship cities, doubling the present number of 111 pairs including Victoria – which is already twinned with Meizhou and Haikou.

The meeting was also expected to adopt a declaration establishing a board of directors, a secretariat and an operational mechanism including a general meeting of members convened once every two years, and meetings between Chinese and African governors and mayors being held on a regular basis, the first one being held in Dakar early in December.

The Chinese side has said they are willing to make contributions to the development of cities in Africa by giving support and helping in city planning, infrastructure, municipal management, environmental protection and public facilities.

A China Africa Local Government Exchange Fund will be set up with an initial funding of 10 million Renminbi (approximately R26 million) to carry out charity projects, train African local government officials, provide scholarships to African students who come to study in China, and help Chinese and African industrial and commercial sectors seeking business opportunities.

The forum was inaugurated by Chinese Vice-Premier LI Keqiang, who declared that both China and Africa are facing unbalanced development in different regions and cooperation at local level will boost the two economies and promote global prosperity. Vice-Premier LI asked the two sides to attach greater importance to improving people’s livelihood and protecting the environment as well as to bolster exchanges in education, healthcare and tourism, and also focus on cooperation in non-resource sectors like agriculture and manufacture.

Mayor Moustache Belle was helped by Seychelles embassy and the Seychelles Tourism Board’s local office to prepare a major promotion of Victoria and Seychelles in Beijing mid September, Victoria having been selected as one of the founding members of the World Tourism Cities Federation that will hold its first general assembly on that occasion.

This event was co-organised by the Chinese People’s Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries, the Chinese-African People’s Friendship Association and the Wenzhou Enterprises Chamber of Commerce in Beijing.

Twenty nine Chinese provinces and 1,700 delegates took part.
In the margin of the forum, Mrs Moustache-Belle met the organising committee of the World Tourism Cities Federation (WTCF).

The first general assembly of the WTCF will be held in Beijing from September 14 to 16 when she will deliver an address during the opening ceremony.

Out of the 40 cities taking part, Victoria has been selected as a founding member along with Los Angeles, Barcelona, Brussels, Buenos Aires, Budapest and Cairo.

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