Full text: China and Africa in the New Era: A Partnership of Equals

White Paper
The State Council Information Office of the People's Republic of China on Friday released a white paper titled "China and Africa in the New Era: A Partnership of Equals."

XinhuaUpdated: November 26, 2021

II. All-Round China-Africa Cooperation in the New Era

China and Africa trust each other and China-Africa friendship is rock-solid. China is committed to consolidating China-Africa political mutual trust, expanding pragmatic cooperation with Africa in various areas, and extending its help to boost peace and development in the continent. China has always been on the forefront of international cooperation with Africa. After years of dedicated efforts, the tree of China-Africa cooperation has flourished – it is tall and strong, and cannot be shaken by any force. China-Africa friendship is in its prime. The fruitful results of China-Africa cooperation can be seen across the continent. It has improved the conditions for economic and social development in Africa and brought tangible benefits to people in both China and Africa.

1. Mutual Political Trust

Since the founding of the PRC in 1949, China and African countries have always been good friends who stand together through prosperity and adversity, good partners who share weal and woe, and good comrades who fully trust each other in a shifting international landscape. In 2006, the FOCAC Beijing Summit decided to establish a new type of China-Africa strategic partnership. In 2015, the FOCAC Johannesburg Summit decided to build a China-Africa comprehensive strategic and cooperative partnership. In the 2018 FOCAC Beijing Summit, the two sides agreed to build an even stronger China-Africa community of shared future, raising China-Africa relations to a new level.

High-level exchanges play an important role in developing China-Africa relations. State leaders of the two sides value communication and coordination on bilateral relations and major issues of common interest. Their exchanges have laid solid political groundwork for consolidating traditional friendship, increasing mutual political trust, safeguarding common interests, and pursuing development and cooperation. In March 2013, President Xi Jinping visited Africa, his first official overseas visit after assuming the office of president. To date he has made four visits to different locations across the continent.

During the 2018 FOCAC Beijing Summit, President Xi had one-on-one meetings with more than 50 African leaders, renewing friendships, exploring cooperation, and discussing the future. He also attended close to 70 bilateral and multilateral events.

After the FOCAC Beijing Summit in 2018, 17 African leaders came to China for state visits or meetings. Following the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic, state leaders of the two sides have maintained contacts and communication via video and phone calls. In June 2020, President Xi Jinping presided over the Extraordinary China-Africa Summit on Solidarity Against Covid-19 via video link. Thirteen African leaders and chairperson of the AU Commission attended the summit. Since the pandemic struck, President Xi has talked by phone with African state leaders on 17 occasions, maintaining close high-level contacts and exchanges with his African counterparts. President Xi has always treated African friends as equals, and fostered solid friendships and profound trust with African leaders. This head-of-state diplomacy has guided China-Africa relations to steady and sustained prosperity.

China and Africa consistently work to diversify and improve intergovernmental dialogue, consultation and cooperation mechanisms. They make the most of the coordinating role of the mechanism to promote all-round development of China-Africa cooperation in various areas. China has established a comprehensive strategic and cooperative partnership with nine African countries, a comprehensive strategic partnership with three, a strategic partnership with six, and a comprehensive cooperative partnership with seven. China has set up bi-national commissions and diplomatic consultation or strategic dialogue mechanisms with 21 African countries and the AU Commission, and joint (mixed) committees on trade and economic cooperation with 51 African countries. In 2016, China and the AU established a consultation mechanism on human rights. In 2017, China established the High-Level People-to-People Exchange Mechanism with South Africa, the first of its kind between China and an African country. China-Africa cooperation at the local level is flourishing. The two sides have held four cooperation forums between local governments since 2012. There are currently 160 pairings of sister provinces/cities between China and African countries, 48 of which have been established since 2013.

China and African countries conduct close exchanges between political parties, legislative bodies and consultative bodies, building multi-level, multi-channel, multi-form and multi-dimensional friendly cooperation. The Communist Party of China expands exchanges and cooperation with political parties in African countries based on the principles of independence, equality, mutual respect and non-interference in each other's internal affairs. It is committed to building a new type of relations between political parties in which different political parties seek common ground while setting aside differences, and they respect and learn from each other. The two sides make full use of the positive role of legislation and supervision to provide policy support for bilateral cooperation and exchanges. The National People's Congress of China has established mechanisms for regular exchanges with parliaments in Egypt, South Africa and Kenya, and bilateral friendship groups with parliaments in 35 African countries. The National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) and its subsidiary organs maintain contacts with 59 institutions in 39 African countries. In June 2019, the CPPCC National Committee established the China-Africa Friendship Group, the first of its kind in the history of the CPPCC.

Over the past years, more African countries have joined the extended family of China-Africa friendship. China restored ambassadorial-level diplomatic relations with The Gambia on March 17, 2016, with Sao Tome and Principe on December 26, 2016, and with Burkina Faso on May 26, 2018. China now has diplomatic relations with 53 African countries, with the sole exception of Eswatini.

China has been active in developing cooperation with the AU and African sub-regional organizations. The AU Conference Center, which was built with Chinese assistance, was inaugurated in January 2012. It was the second-largest project in Africa to be built with China's assistance after the Tanzania-Zambia Railway. In 2014, China sent a mission to the AU, marking a new stage of China-AU relations. China values the AU's leading role in advancing African integration and building a stronger African continent through unity, and supports its dominant role in safeguarding peace and security in Africa. China also supports the AU in playing a bigger role in regional and international affairs, adopting Agenda 2063, and executing the First Ten-Year Implementation Plan.

In a capacity of observer, China has attended the summit of many African sub-regional organizations including the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), the Southern African Development Community (SADC), the East African Community (EAC), and the Intergovernmental Authority on Development and the Economic Community of Central African States. China has sent ambassadors to the ECOWAS, SADC and EAC.

2. Rapidly Expanding Economic Cooperation

China and Africa have seen economic and trade cooperation expanding rapidly in scale and extent. The 10 major cooperation plans and the eight major initiatives adopted at the 2015 FOCAC Johannesburg Summit and the 2018 FOCAC Beijing Summit raised China-Africa economic and trade cooperation to a new level.

– Increasing development assistance. While pursuing its own growth, China supports African countries in seeking development and improving their people's lives. In the new era, China has scaled up assistance to Africa. Foreign aid from 2013 to 2018 totaled RMB270 billion. Of this sum, 45 percent went to African countries in the form of grants, interest-free loans and concessional loans. From 2000 to 2020, China helped African countries build more than 13,000 km of roads and railway and more than 80 large-scale power facilities, and funded over 130 medical facilities, 45 sports venues and over 170 schools. It also trained more than 160,000 personnel for Africa, and built a series of flagship projects including the AU Conference Center. China's assistance extended to various aspects of the economy, society and people's lives, and was widely welcomed and supported by governments in Africa and the people. China has announced an exemption from debt incurred in the form of interest-free Chinese government loans due to mature by the end of 2018. It will apply to Africa's least developed countries, heavily indebted and poor countries, landlocked developing countries and small island developing countries that have diplomatic relations with China. During the Covid-19 pandemic, China cancelled the outstanding debts of 15 African countries in the form of interest-free loans that matured at the end of 2020.

– Booming trade relations. China has been Africa's largest trading partner for the 12 years since 2009. The proportion of Africa's trade with China in the continent's total external trade has continued to rise. In 2020, the figure exceeded 21 percent. The structure of China-Africa trade is improving. There has been a marked increase in technology in China's exports to Africa, with the export of mechanical and electrical products and high-tech products now accounting for more than 50 percent of the total. China has increased its imports of non-resource products from Africa, and offered zero-tariff treatment to 97 percent of taxable items exported to China by the 33 least-developed countries in Africa, with the goal of helping more African agricultural and manufactured goods gain access to the Chinese market. China's imports in services from Africa have been growing at an average annual rate of 20 percent since 2017, creating close to 400,000 jobs for the continent every year. In recent years, China's imports of agricultural products from Africa have also risen, and China has emerged as the second largest destination for Africa's agricultural exports. China and Africa have seen booming trade in new business models including cross-border e-commerce. Cooperation under the Silk Road E-commerce initiative has advanced. China has built a mechanism for e-commerce cooperation with Rwanda, and Chinese businesses have been active in investing in overseas order fulfillment centers. High-quality and special products from Africa are now directly available to the Chinese market via e-commerce platforms. The China-Mauritius free trade agreement (FTA), which became effective on January 1 2021, was the first FTA between China and an African country. It has injected new vitality into China-Africa economic and trade cooperation.

– Promoting cooperation in investment and financing. Cooperation in investment and financing has been one of the success stories of China-Africa cooperation in recent years, bringing new vitality into Africa's economic and social development. Combining Africa's needs and China's strengths, China encourages its companies to increase and optimize investment in Africa, providing support in financing and export credit insurance for eligible projects. Thanks to the combined efforts of the Chinese government, financial institutions, and enterprises, China's investment in Africa has built up sound momentum. It covers a wide range of fields including mining, processing and smelting of ores, equipment manufacturing, agriculture, home appliance production, aviation services, medicine and health, and the digital economy. With this help, African countries have been able to upgrade their industrialization, improve their industries, and increase their capacity to earn foreign exchange through exports.

By the end of 2020, direct investment of Chinese companies in Africa had surpassed $43 billion. China has established over 3,500 companies of various types across the continent. Private companies have gradually become the main investment force in Africa; more than 80 percent of their employees are locals, and they have directly and indirectly created millions of jobs.

– Facilitating agricultural development in Africa. China has always been willing to share agricultural development experience and technology with Africa, to support African countries in improving agricultural production and processing, and to help them in building their agricultural value chains and trade. Since 2012, 7,456 African trainees have received agricultural training in China. Through projects such as sending Chinese agricultural experts to Africa, more than 50,000 Africans have been trained and 23 agricultural demonstration centers have been built. To date, China has established agricultural cooperation mechanisms with 23 African countries and regional organizations, and signed 72 bilateral and multilateral agricultural cooperation agreements. Since 2012, China has signed 31 agricultural cooperation agreements with 20 African countries and regional organizations. In 2019, the First China-Africa Agriculture Cooperation Forum was held, which announced the establishment of the China-AU Agriculture Cooperation Commission and the formulation of a program of action to promote China-Africa cooperation in agricultural modernization. By the end of 2020, more than 200 Chinese companies had an investment stock of $1.11 billion in agricultural sector in 35 African countries. Their investments cover areas such as planting, breeding and processing. More than 350 types of African agricultural products can be traded with China. All this ensures steady growth in China-Africa agricultural trade.

– Contributing to industrialization in Africa. Industrialization is a prerequisite for the continent to achieve inclusive and sustainable development, and is also the key to creating jobs, eradicating poverty, and improving living standards. China supports African countries in improving their "soft" and "hard" environment for investment in accordance with their national conditions and development needs. Taking industrial alignment and capacity cooperation as the engine, China helps advance the process of Africa's industrialization and economic diversification. To date, China has established industrial capacity cooperation mechanisms with 15 countries in Africa. China and African countries have worked together to build economic and trade cooperation zones, special economic zones, industrial parks and science parks, attracting enterprises from China and other countries to invest in Africa. They have built production and processing bases and localized their operations in Africa, contributing to an increase in local employment and tax revenues, and promoting industrial upgrading and technical cooperation. The China-Africa Fund for Production Capacity Cooperation has focused on the construction of highways, railways, and aviation networks, and industrialization in Africa. As of March 2021, investments had been made in 21 projects, covering energy, resources and manufacturing and boosting industrial development in recipient countries. Dozens of Chinese-funded enterprises have cooperated with African counterparts to build photovoltaic power stations, with a cumulative installed capacity exceeding 1.5 GW, which has helped create photovoltaic industry chains from scratch in Africa, while effectively alleviating power shortages and reducing carbon emissions.

– Expanding cooperation in infrastructure. China supports Africa in making infrastructure development a priority for economic revitalization. It encourages and supports Chinese enterprises to adopt various models to participate in the construction, investment, operation and management of infrastructure projects in Africa. From 2016 to 2020, total investment in infrastructure projects in Africa reached almost $200 billion. Projects implemented by Chinese companies accounted for 31.4 percent of all infrastructure projects on the African continent in 2020. Since the founding of FOCAC, Chinese companies have utilized various funds to help African countries build and upgrade more than 10,000 km of railways, nearly 100,000 km of highways, nearly 1,000 bridges and 100 ports, and 66,000 km of power transmission and distribution. They have also helped build an installed power-generating capacity of 120 million kW, a communications backbone network of 150,000 km and a network service covering nearly 700 million user terminals. Built and operated by Chinese companies, the Mombasa-Nairobi Railway was the first modern railway to be built in Kenya in 100 years. Applying Chinese standards, technologies and equipment, the project has won praise as a road of friendship and cooperation, and a path towards win-win development between China and Africa in the new era. The railway has carried 5.4 million passengers and 1.3 million standard containers. It has contributed 1.5 percent to Kenya's economic growth, and created 46,000 direct and indirect jobs. China has guided its enterprises to explore multiple forms of cooperation, such as BOT (build-operate-transfer), BOO (build-own-operate) and PPP (public-private partnership). Such efforts aim to transform China-Africa infrastructure cooperation to a wholly integrated model covering investment, construction and operation, and push forward the sustainable development of infrastructure projects.

– Strengthening financial cooperation. Financial institutions from both sides have been exploring each other's markets. Their central banks have expanded the scale of local currency settlement and currency swap, leading to a steady improvement in China-Africa financial facilitation. As of October 2021, the Cross-Border Interbank Payment System (CIPS) had 42 indirect participants in Africa, covering 19 African countries. The People's Bank of China (PBOC), China's central bank, has signed successive currency swap agreements with the central banks of South Africa, Morocco, Egypt and Nigeria, to a total amount of RMB73 billion. China has signed a memorandum of understanding on cooperation in financial supervision with seven African countries including Egypt, South Africa and Nigeria, laying a solid foundation for steady and long-term bilateral financial cooperation. China has joined the African Development Bank (AfDB), the Eastern and Southern African Trade and Development Bank, the West African Development Bank and other multilateral development financial institutions. It has pledged to contribute a total of $996 million to the African Development Fund under the AfDB.

– Expanding cooperation in the digital economy. China is helping African countries to eliminate the digital divide. Rapid development and fruitful results have been achieved in this field – building digital infrastructure, transition towards a digital society, and the application of new technologies such as the Internet of Things and mobile finance. Chinese companies have participated in a number of submarine cable projects connecting Africa and Europe, Asia, and the Americas. They have cooperated with major African operators in achieving full basic coverage of telecommunications services in Africa. They have built more than half of the continent's wireless sites and high-speed mobile broadband networks. In total, more than 200,000 km of optical fiber has been laid, giving broadband Internet access to 6 million households, and serving more than 900 million local people. To date, more than 1,500 companies in 17 cities in 15 African countries have selected Chinese corporate partners on their digital transformation path. Twenty-nine countries have selected smart government service solutions provided by Chinese companies. China and Africa have jointly established a public cloud service in South Africa that covers the entire African region. The two sides also released the first 5G independent networking commercial network in the region. The level and content of China-Africa e-commerce cooperation continue to grow. The Silk Road E-Commerce Capacity Building Cloud Lectures have effectively improved the digital literacy of micro, small and medium-sized enterprises in partner countries. Promotion activities have been held to help high-quality products from Africa to access the Chinese market. Such activities include a government-initiated shopping festival that began in 2019, featuring Silk Road e-commerce, as well as the FOCAC African Products Online Promoting Season. Chinese companies actively participate in building platforms of public services in Africa such as electronic payment and smart logistics. All these efforts are designed to achieve win-win cooperation through promoting connectivity. At the China-Africa Internet Development and Cooperation Forum in August 2021, China announced its intention to formulate and implement a joint China-Africa Partnership Plan on Digital Innovation in Africa.

3. Growing Cooperation on Social Development

China is promoting cooperation with Africa in social fields such as poverty reduction, health, education, science and technology, environmental protection, climate change and exchanges among young people and women. Through strengthening exchanges, providing assistance and sharing experience, China is helping African countries to improve their comprehensive social development, which then provides internal impetus for their economic growth.

– Sharing experience in poverty reduction. Poverty is a common challenge facing China and Africa. Ending poverty is the primary goal of the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. With hundreds of millions of poor people having worked their way out of poverty, China has created a successful path of poverty eradication with Chinese characteristics, which has served as a reference for addressing the problem in Africa. China has effectively implemented the Program for Strengthening China-Africa Cooperation on Poverty Reduction. With mechanisms like the FOCAC Africa-China Poverty Reduction and Development Conference, and the China-Africa Youth Exchange Program on Poverty Reduction and Development, China has supported local governments, academics, enterprises, and youth and non-governmental organizations in both China and Africa in carrying out various forms of exchange and pragmatic cooperation on poverty reduction. Since 2010, 10 FOCAC Africa-China Poverty Reduction and Development conferences have been held in countries such as China, Ethiopia, South Africa and Uganda, with nearly 1,600 participants in total. From 2005 to 2021, China organized 160 poverty reduction and foreign aid training programs. Some 2,700 people from 53 African countries participated in the training, accounting for almost 60 percent of the total number of trainees.

– Enhancing medical and health cooperation. The Chinese government has always ranked people and lives above everything else. Through concrete actions, China has helped African countries respond to various epidemics and plagues and build a public health system, promoting a China-Africa community of health. One of the longest and most effective cooperation projects that involves the greatest number of African countries is the dispatch of Chinese medical teams. The first one, which was sent to Algeria in 1963, marked the first chapter in the story of China's medical aid to Africa. Over the past 58 years, China has sent a total of 23,000 medical team members to Africa, who have treated 230 million patients. At present, there are nearly 1,000 Chinese medical workers in 45 African countries, working at 98 medical centers. They are hailed by the local Africans as the health messengers in white, models of South-South cooperation and most welcome guests. Chinese medical teams carried out 34 free clinical programs under the Brightness Action initiative, restoring the eyesight of almost 10,000 African cataract patients. China focuses on helping African countries strengthen medical specialties, training 20,000 African medical personnel. To date, it has helped 18 African countries establish 20 centers in different medical specialties, covering cardiology, critical care medicine, trauma and endoscopy. Paired cooperation mechanisms have been established between the Chinese side and 45 hospitals in 40 African countries. China supports African countries in improving their capacity in border health and quarantine inspection, and sends disease control experts to the Africa Center for Disease Control and Prevention to provide technical support.

– Expanding cooperation in education and human resources. China vigorously supports education in Africa. Based on the needs of African countries for economic and social development, it helps train much-needed professionals for African countries and encourages outstanding African youth to study in China through several scholarships. Starting from 2012, the two sides have implemented the 20+20 Cooperation Plan for Chinese and African Institutions of Higher Education as an exchange and cooperation platform among universities. China set up an educational trust fund under UNESCO to provide teacher training for more than 10,000 teachers in African countries. Since 2018, China has established Luban Workshops together with colleges and universities in countries including Egypt, South Africa, Djibouti and Kenya, sharing quality vocational education resources with Africa and training high-caliber technical personnel to meet the urgent needs of economic and social development on the continent.

China has helped more than 30 African universities set up Chinese language departments or Chinese language majors. In cooperation with China, 16 African countries have incorporated the Chinese language into their national education systems. The two sides have established 61 Confucius Institutes and 48 Confucius Classrooms in Africa. Since 2004, China has sent a total of 5,500 Chinese language teachers and volunteers to 48 African nations.

– Stepping up scientific and technological collaboration, and knowledge sharing. China actively strengthens communication and coordination with Africa in terms of technological innovation strategies. It shares experience and achievements, and promotes the exchange and training of professionals and technology transfer, as well as innovation and entrepreneurship on both sides. China and African countries have set up high-level joint laboratories, the China-Africa Joint Research Center, and an innovation cooperation center. In recent years, China has assisted Africa in cultivating a large number of scientific and technological talents through projects such as the Alliance of International Science Organizations in the Belt and Road Region Scholarship, Chinese government scholarships, the Talented Young Scientist Program, and the Innovative Talent Exchange Project. Breakthroughs have been made in space cooperation. Using China's remote sensing data, the two parties carry out cooperation in the fields of disaster prevention and mitigation, radio astronomy, satellite navigation and positioning, and precision agriculture. They also participate together in the Square Kilometer Array Project. The complete satellite assembly integration and test center built by Egypt with China's help has laid solid foundations for Egypt's aerospace industry. China also assisted Algeria and Sudan to launch their first artificial satellites.

– Expanding collaboration in eco-environmental protection and jointly responding to climate change. The peoples of China and Africa share a common yearning for a beautiful environment and a better life. As a result, they work together to advocate green, low-carbon, recyclable and sustainable development and safeguard the common homeland of humanity. Since 2012, they have co-organized a seminar on green cooperation guiding the future economy and a ministerial conference on China-Africa environmental cooperation, promoting communication and coordination of environmental governance policies. The China-Africa Environmental Cooperation Center began operations in 2020 with the participation of China and African countries, as well as other international organizations, research institutions, and enterprises. As of September 2021, related institutions in seven African countries, including Angola and Kenya, have joined the International Coalition for Green Development on the Belt and Road, devised to contribute to the green development of the Belt and Road Initiative. China has carried out South-South cooperation on tackling climate change, and to date has signed 15 cooperation agreements with 14 African countries. Various approaches have been explored in support of Africa's response to the issue, such as implementing mitigation and adaptation programs, jointly setting up pilot low-carbon industrial parks, and conducting training in capacity-building. For example, the Ethiopian Remote Sensing Satellite-1, or ETRSS-1, launched with Chinese help, is one of the fruits of China's first remote sensing satellite cooperation with Africa. China and Africa crack down together on transnational organized crimes related to endangered wildlife trafficking, through intelligence sharing in environmental protection laws and regulations and helping each other to build capacity in law enforcement. While implementing the Convention on Biological Diversity and the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, and dealing with other related affairs, China strengthens communication and coordination with African countries, in an endeavor to protect and ensure the sustainable exploitation of global wild fauna and flora.

4. People-to-People and Cultural Exchanges

As an old Chinese saying goes, "State-to-state relations thrive when there is friendship between the peoples." China and African countries have embraced further exchanges in culture, media, science and technology, and think tanks, and facilitated dialogues among youth and women. These efforts have promoted people-to-people bonds and laid solid foundations for further developments.

– Expanding exchanges and cooperation in the cultural sector and tourism. The two sides continue to sign implementation plans for intergovernmental agreements on signature programs such as the Year of China, the Year of Culture, Happy Spring Festival, Chinese and African Cultures in Focus, and Insight on China, further enhancing cultural exchanges and cooperation. As of December 2020, 346 such implementation plans had been inked and carried out. From 2013 to 2020, Chinese art troupes made 140 visits to Africa to hold performances. Since 2013, art troupes from 28 African countries have been invited to perform in China. Since 2016, China has held hundreds of cultural seminars for African countries, with nearly 1,500 African participants in total. Chinese cultural centers have been set up in Mauritius, Benin, Egypt, Nigeria, Tanzania and Morocco. The Chinese Government has signed documents with counterparts in Tunisia, Kenya, C?te d'Ivoire, Senegal, Ethiopia and Mozambique on establishing Chinese cultural centers in these countries or their cultural centers in China. To date China has signed bilateral documents on cooperation in tourism with 31 African countries. It has listed 34 African countries as outbound group tour destinations for its citizens, and officially launched group tourism businesses for its people with 22 African countries.

– Working on closer cooperation in the press, the media, and film and television. China and Africa continue to strengthen dialogue and exchanges on furthering news cooperation, managing cyberspace, and handling media relations. To this end, exchange events have been held such as the China-Africa Media Summit and the Forum on China-Africa Media Cooperation. Thirty African media outlets have joined the Belt and Road News Alliance, and 42 African countries have participated in the Belt and Road Media Community Summit Forum. China supports the development of the African radio, film and television industries. This can be seen from the effort to provide satellite TV reception to 10,000 African villages, and to support outdoor screening activities – the Caravan program – in rural areas and remote suburbs, covering more than 70 villages and regions in 12 countries. China and Africa encourage joint development and production of more works that tell stories about Africa and China-Africa friendship. Chinese companies provide program resources in 11 languages on more than 600 channels for 13 million African users. In recent years, China has carried out multilingual translations of about 200 outstanding Chinese audiovisual works for Africa and held Chinese film screenings and exhibitions in more than 10 African countries. Each year, a number of African films are screened at Chinese film festivals as well.

– Encouraging academic exchanges and cooperation among think tanks. China and Africa support various forms of cooperation among academic research institutions, think tanks and universities in carrying out subject research, academic exchanges and publication of works. Support is given to sharing research and achievements, especially on topics such as state governance, development paths, industrial capacity cooperation, culture, and law. Both sides have also been working on enhancing research strengths. More than 80 think tanks and academic research institutions have participated in the China-Africa Joint Research and Exchange Plan. The Fifth Ministerial Conference of FOCAC held in 2012 proposed to implement the China-Africa Think Tanks 10+10 Partnership Plan for long-term paired cooperation. In April 2019, China-Africa Institute was established in Beijing.

– Increasing non-governmental exchanges. China and African countries have actively implemented the Proposals on China-Africa People-to-People Exchanges and Cooperation, the China-Africa People-to-People Friendship Action, the Silk Road Community Building Program, and the China-Africa People-to-People Friendship and Partnership Program. They support trade unions, other non-governmental organizations and social groups in engaging in exchanges. Since 2011, the two sides have held six China-Africa People's Forums. In addition, five China-Africa Young Leaders Forums, four Asian-African Youth Festivals and three China-Africa Youth Galas have been held since 2012. The 1st China-Africa Future Leaders' Dialogue was held in 2021. As of 2020, the Chinese Government has dispatched 484 young volunteers to 16 African countries. It has established contacts and exchanges with more than 100 women's organizations in 53 African countries. Centers dedicated to friendly exchanges or training among women have been established in Mauritius, Lesotho, Djibouti, Zimbabwe and Sudan.

5. Cooperation on Peace and Security

Without security and stability, there can be no development. As a constructive participant in peace and security affairs in Africa, China has always championed the principle of African people solving African issues in their own ways, and advocated the need to address root causes as well as symptoms and seek cooperation for the benefit of all parties. It supports the right of African countries and the AU to play a leading role in the region's peace and security affairs. China supports their efforts to promote peace and stability and fight against terrorism. China endorses the "Silence the Guns in Africa" initiative in countries and regional organizations such as the AU. China will continue to support the UN in providing financial support for the AU's independent peacekeeping operations. Based on the principles of respecting the will of African countries, not interfering in African countries' internal affairs, and observing the basic norms governing international relations, China is actively exploring constructive participation in promoting and maintaining peace and security in Africa.

China and Africa continue to expand exchanges and hold dialogues in the field of peace and security. Since 2019, China has co-hosted or hosted the Dialogue on the Implementation of China-Africa Peace and Security Initiative, the First China-Africa Peace and Security Forum, and the Video Conference on Military Medicine under the forum. It has also actively participated in important conferences or forums held by African countries in related fields. The Chinese Government's Special Representative for African Affairs has actively engaged in mediation efforts in Africa, and played a unique and constructive role in Africa's peace and security endeavors. Through various means such as port calls and joint exercises and training, China has provided strong support to African countries in strengthening national defense and the armed forces, and to countries in the Sahel region and those bordering the Gulf of Aden and the Gulf of Guinea in upholding security and combating terrorism in their regions. China has launched assistance programs and helped train African military personnel under the Belt and Road Initiative, and in areas of law and order, UN peacekeeping missions, fighting piracy and combating terrorism. China supports the UN in playing an important role in maintaining peace and stability in Africa. Among the permanent members of the UN Security Council, China has sent the largest number of peacekeepers to the continent.

Since China first took part in UN peacekeeping operations in 1990, more than 80 percent of its peacekeepers have been deployed in Africa. Over 30,000 Chinese peacekeepers have been sent to Africa to perform tasks in 17 peacekeeping mission areas. More than 1,800 peacekeepers are currently performing missions in five of these areas – Mali, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (the DRC), Abyei, South Sudan and Western Sahara. In accordance with UN Security Council resolutions, the PLA Navy has deployed regular convoys in the Gulf of Aden since 2008. To date it has dispatched 39 escort taskforces, providing protection to approximately 7,000 Chinese and foreign vessels in about 1,400 groups. China also decided to donate 300,000 doses of Covid-19 vaccine to UN peacekeepers, with priority given to those in African mission areas. As of August 2020, a total of 11 Chinese military peacekeepers had sacrificed their lives for the noble cause of peace in Africa.

China and Africa embrace the expansion of orderly personnel exchanges. They have worked on consular cooperation, increased cooperation between law enforcement departments, and acted against various cross-border crimes. In 2019 Chinese citizens made 607,000 visits to the African continent, while the number of African visitors to China reached 685,000. Growth in personnel exchanges promotes the rapid development of consular relations. In terms of strengthening law enforcement capacity in African countries, since 2018 China has trained over 2,000 African law enforcement officers and provided police supplies. It has dispatched peacekeeping police to African mission areas under the aegis of the UN, and collaborated in dealing with criminal cases, intelligence exchanges, experience-sharing and joint operations under the framework of Interpol.

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