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Interview: FOCAC summit conducive to lifting South-South partnership to higher level — Ethiopian scholar

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ADDIS ABABA, Sept. 13 (Xinhua) — The recently held 2018 Beijing Summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation helps usher in a new stage of the South-South cooperation, an Ethiopian scholar said on Thursday.

“South-South Cooperation between China and Africa is resolute to move forward to an even stronger community in the 21st century” with the help of the outcomes of the recently held FOCAC summit, Costantinos Bt. Costantinos, who served as an economic advisor to the African Union (AU) and the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA), told Xinhua on Thursday.

Chinese President Xi Jinping revealed during the FOCAC Summit, which had its latest summit in Beijing earlier last week, that China will implement eight major initiatives with African countries in the next three years and beyond, covering fields such as industrial promotion, infrastructure connectivity, trade facilitation, green development, capacity building, healthcare, people-to-people exchanges and peace and security.

Noting the friendship between China and Africa has been “persistently built on the shared destiny that can be traced to the common past and mutual support during their struggle for political independence,” Costantinos further advised that the South-South cooperation be built on the basis of the outcomes of the FOCAC summit as well as the major global modalities, mainly the UN and African Union (AU) platforms.

“China has lifted hundreds of millions out of poverty; and the Chinese leadership needs to advance the cooperation with Africa within the coordinated and transparent framework of the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the African Union’s Agenda 2063 and individual countries’ development plans,” he said.

“China-Africa partnership in structural transformation is an important input in production and there is a close link between infrastructure, economic growth and consumption,” he added.

He also noted that FOCAC, from its inception, has been “serving as the key platform for the collective dialogue and cooperation between the two sides.”

According to the expert, the Chinese-proposed Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) could be a major platform in transforming the South-South cooperation and beyond.

The BRI “coming from the China, a developing nation in its own right …, is a welcome opportunity for Africa to emulate China’s development,” he said.

“China’ investment in African infrastructure and services are creating new jobs, opportunities, and opening up new trading routes to boost bilateral trade further, which has averaged annual growth of around 30 percent since 2008,” the expert said.

Costantinos, also professor of public policy at the Addis Ababa University in Ethiopia, stressed that the eight major initiatives from the summit, if well implemented, would further bring a “win-win cooperation and reciprocal benefits for both parties (Africa and China).”

The initiatives targets in human security and capacity development were also praised by the expert as vital in order to uplift the China-Africa partnership, eventually contributing to Africa’s overall development.

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