Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi to visit Seychelles on Friday | 06 January 2021
- Pandemic-tested China-Africa brotherhood to embrace brighter future
Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi is expected to arrive here on Friday January 8 on a one-day visit as part of an official visit to Africa.
He will be in Seychelles on the last leg of his visit to five African countries and will leave on Saturday January 9 to return home.
Following a tradition of 31 years of China's foreign ministers making Africa their first visit of the new year, Minister Wang kicked off his official visit to five African countries on Monday January 4. The first country he has visited is Nigeria where he spent two days. He will also visit the Democratic Republic of Congo, Tanzania, Botswana and Seychelles.
According to Xinhua News Agency, the visits showcase an unshakable China-Africa friendship in the post-Covid era under increasing world turbulence, and marking a new beginning in the next 10 years on the “Promised Land."
The last similar visit by Minister Wang was at the start of 2020 when he made a five-day official visit to Egypt, Djibouti, Eritrea, Burundi and Zimbabwe. Between 2008 and 2018, senior Chinese leaders made 79 visits to 43 African countries – a demonstration of the close-knit relations between the two partners.
Xinhua News Agency adds that in spite of the raging Covid-19 pandemic across the continent, Mr Wang’s visit highlights the great importance China attaches to its relations with Africa and demonstrating their enduring friendship in weal and woe.
Dominating the year of 2020, the Covid-19 pandemic has left the world lasting scars both in disastrous mortality and economic loss, yet the once-in-a-century epidemic also witnessed China-Africa brotherhood strengthened in their joint efforts to fight the virus.
Xinhua News Agency adds that during the most difficult time in China's fight against the coronavirus last year, more than 50 African leaders sent messages of condolence and valuable support to China. After Covid-19 broke out in Africa, China took the lead in providing Africa with a large amount of anti-epidemic materials and sending medical teams to 15 African countries.
China has been adhering to the principles of sincerity, real results, affinity and good faith in its policy toward Africa. In 2020, China has started to help the construction of the headquarters of the African Centres for Disease Control and Prevention ahead of schedule, honouring its commitment made at the Extraordinary China-Africa Summit on Solidarity Against Covid-19.
On the economic front, China signed debt service suspension agreements with 12 African countries and reduced or waived the interest-free loans of 15 African nations due at the end of 2020, becoming the biggest helper in terms of relieving African debt among the Group of 20.
Xinhua News Agency adds that China and Africa ‒ the largest developing country and the largest developing continent ‒ have always adhered to the principle of mutual benefit and win-win cooperation on the basis of equality and respect, setting a good example for South-South cooperation.
The year of 2020, which marks the 20th anniversary of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (Focac), opened a new era of political mutual trust and comprehensive cooperation between the two sides.
In the past two decades, Africa has built more than 6,000km of railways, 6,000km of roads, nearly 20 ports and more than 80 major power facilities within the framework of Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), the "ten cooperation plans" and the "eight initiatives" proposed by China.
Also during that period, two-way trade has increased 20 times, and China's direct investment in Africa has increased 100 times, helping to draw Africa into an upward trajectory to prosperity.
China-Africa cooperation, especially under the BRI, has offered the developing continent a real "China opportunity". Furthermore, China and the African Union have recently signed an agreement to promote the BRI in Africa, which will effectively synergise the initiative with Africa's Agenda 2063, a blueprint for transforming Africa into a global powerhouse of the future.
Xinhua News Agency also writes that in 2021, challenges remain ahead, yet beams of hope will light up the future. Trading under the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) that covers more than 1.2 billion people started on Friday, a landmark for Africa's transformation and development, also providing a golden opportunity for China and Africa to tap into their economic potentials.
For the new year, China and Africa have set clear targets in their cooperation roadmap. Senegal will co-chair this year's Focac meetings. China will work with Africa on the three priority areas of vaccine cooperation, economic recovery and transformative development.
Unfolding the new year, Minister Wang's visit is not only passing on a tradition but also demonstrating China's resolution to strengthen bonds with Africa and boost confidence in African countries' future development.
Bringing China's support and experience in fighting the pandemic and poverty, Minister Wang's visit will also enhance African countries' confidence and efforts in their own fights against similar difficulties, inject new vitality into China-Africa cooperation and bring their relations to new heights.