China and Africa pledge to implement Beijing Action Plan

Pretoria - China and African countries have pledged to ensure the full implementation of the proposals enshrined in the Beijing Action Plan (2013-2015) of the Fifth Ministerial Conference of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC).

The Foreign Ministers of South Africa, China and Egypt made the remarks at a joint press conference in Beijing on Friday.

During the two-day FOCAC ministerial meeting, two documents were released -- the Beijing Declaration and Beijing Action Plan (2013-2015).

China-Africa cooperation has brought substantial benefits to both sides, said Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi, adding that China would continue to promote the cooperation with sincerity, mutual respect and equality.

South Africa, which takes over as co-chair of the FOCAC for six years, said the country would do its utmost to carry out the objectives of the Beijing Action Plan (2013-2015), deepen African countries' engagement in the activities of the forum and make the forum more compatible with the proposals of the African Union (AU).

"We fully welcome the 5th FOCAC Ministerial Conference Declaration and Action Plan (2013-2015) and wish to assure all stakeholders that we will work tirelessly to ensure that it is effectively implemented.

"I am equally glad to say that the 5th Beijing Action Plan is in line with Africa's regional and continental priorities... We welcome the positive contribution that the FOCAC has made towards infrastructure development, a significant increase in trade and investment, skills transfer through exchange programmes and people-to-people interactions.

"There is no doubt that the FOCAC has contributed positively to Africa's development," said South African International Relations and Cooperation Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane.

Egyptian Foreign Minister Mohamed Kamel Amr echoed Nkoana-Mashabane's sentiments, saying the FOCAC had become an effective platform for China-Africa dialogue and a new brand of South-South cooperation.

"China has always been a good and reliable friend to Africa," he said.

In the past three years, Egypt and China have co-chaired the FOCAC and the forum has further enhanced political coordination and economic cooperation between Africa and China, he added.

He congratulated South Africa on assuming the new presidency of the FOCAC and voiced the belief that the forum would take bigger strides under the leadership of South Africa.

Nkoana-Mashabane welcomed the special programme on trade with Africa, and the proposal to send investment and trade promotion missions to Africa, expanding and diversifying imports from Africa.

This includes technical support for intensive processing of African agro-produce and industrial raw materials, and increasing value addition of Africa's primary products through investment.

"Africa and China have to look at opportunities in strengthening industrialisation processes to benefit both parties. In addition, beneficiation of Africa's mineral resources will form a strong base for localisation and further industrialisation in Africa," said the minister.

She thanked China for its support on the transnational and trans-regional infrastructure development in Africa as well as the five new measures announced by Chinese President Hu Jintao at the opening ceremony of the FOCAC ministerial meeting.

The five new measures are expanding investment and financing to support sustainable development in Africa; increasing assistance to Africa; supporting the African integration process and help enhance the capacity of overall development; enhancing people-to-people friendship, and promoting peace and stability in Africa.

"We thank China for having committed to these very important five key priority areas without conditions," she said, adding that the measures were a clear indication of China's willingness to deepening its cooperation with Africa.

South Africa would work closely with China to ensure that these measures were realised for the benefit of both sides, she added.

Nkoana-Mashabane also welcomed China's announcement of the $20 billion credit to African countries, together with many other areas of cooperation in science and technology, as well as the information and communication technology, which will further help strengthen Africa's industrialisation processes.

The Sixth Ministerial Conference of the FOCAC will be held in Johannesburg, South Africa, in 2015.

The FOCAC is a collective consultation and dialogue mechanism between China and African countries launched in 2000.