March 30th, 2010 | China Daily Joint program to beef up Sino-African relations
Beijing will nurture more African studies scholars, in a bid to strengthen support from intellectuals who can advance actions on various issues critical to the development of Sino-African friendship, a senior minister said in an exclusive interview to China Daily.
Vice-Foreign Minister Zhai Jun, who is in charge of African affairs, said academicians on both sides would be encouraged to share development experiences through a China-Africa joint research and exchange program, which will be launched Tuesday.
Joint program to beef up Sino-African relations
Zhai said the high degree of development in Sino-African ties has offered a larger space and better requirement for academic exchanges between the two sides.
And the program, which will involve Chinese and African academic institutions, is aimed at contributing to the progress in research on Africa’s development and Sino-African ties.
It will sponsor activities including exchange visits, seminars and the publishing of research achievements.
“We also hope the Chinese and African scholars will strengthen the communication with counterparts from other countries so as to help the international community view Sino-African cooperation in a more objective and comprehensive manner,” Zhai said.
The program is part of eight new measures to enhance Sino-African cooperation, announced by Premier Wen Jiabao when he attended the fourth ministerial conference of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) last November in Egypt.
This is another package of practical measures being offered by the Chinese government after the 2006 FOCAC Beijing Summit, giving due consideration to African needs, Zhai said.
They cover a wide range of areas, including environmental protection, science and technology, investment and trade, public health and person-to-person exchanges.
Zhai said the various follow-up activities to the ministerial conference are well on track, noting that good progress is being made in debt cancellation and tariff exemption. The China-Africa Science and Technology Partnership Program was also officially inaugurated last November, he said.
“Those measures will not only help African countries to overcome the negative impact of the global financial crisis but is also aimed at pushing forward sustainable development in the continent,” Zhai said.
He said African nations have fully acknowledged and welcomed these measures, which have laid an even better foundation for Sino-African friendly cooperation.
Zhai said Beijing has paid great attention to the implementation of its pledges to help the African continent through a flurry of diplomatic exchanges, carried out between the two sides since the beginning of the New Year.
Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi and Commerce Minister Chen Deming visited several African nations in January and some African leaders, including Zambian President Rupiah Bwezani Banda, and foreign ministers have called on Beijing in turn, during the past months.
China’s top political advisor Jia Qinglin is currently on an official goodwill visit to three African nations: Cameroon, Namibia and South Africa. He will conclude his trip on Thursday.
Calling Jia’s visit China’s key diplomatic action on Africa, Zhai said it has great significance in promoting Sino-Africa’s new type of strategic partnership and pushing the implementation work of the achievements of the fourth ministerial conference.
Zhai said China-Africa cooperation has entered a stage of sound development and the Chinese side, on the basis of mutually beneficial and friendly negotiations, will continue to take new practical measures to benefit the African people at an early stage.
By Qin Jize