FOCAC Beijing Summit in September - President Akufo-Addo expected to attend

BY: Kate Baaba Hudson
Mr Shi Ting Wang — The Chinese Ambassador to Ghana (right) andMr Enoch Cobbinah — Chief Director at the Education Ministry
Mr Shi Ting Wang — The Chinese Ambassador to Ghana (right) andMr Enoch Cobbinah — Chief Director at the Education Ministry

The Beijing Summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC), as a new milestone in China-Africa relations, will be held in September this year.

The summit will combine the joint construction of the Belt and Road Initiative between China and Africa, the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development of the United Nations and Agenda 2063 of the African Union with the development strategies of various African countries, the Chinese Ambassador to Ghana, Mr Shi Ting Wang, has announced.

He said the summit would also launch new strategies and new measures to strengthen all-round cooperation between China and Africa, to open new opportunities and new horizons for the development of China-Africa comprehensive strategic cooperative partnership.

The ambassador was speaking at a reception in honour of the 2018 Chinese Government Scholarship Awardees and briefing on the FOCAC Beijing Summit.

Mr Wang announced that leaders and representatives of more than 50 African countries would gather in Beijing and jointly plan the future of China-Africa relations with Chinese leaders on "Win-win cooperation and building a closer community of shared future between China and Africa".

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He disclosed that Ghana’s President Nana Addo Danquah Akufo-Addo would attend the summit and pay a state visit to China, which would thereby chart a new blueprint for the China-Ghana cooperation.

“The President of China, President Xi Jinping, and President Akufo-Addo will exchange ideas on national development strategy, which points out the direction of bilateral relations and blueprint plans of our future cooperation,” he stated, adding that he was confident that President Akufo-Addo’s visit to China would be successful and fruitful.

He said: “This year is a significant year for the development of China-Africa relations.”

The Ambassador also noted that driven by the boom of China-Africa cooperation, more and more Chinese companies were investing in Africa.

Trading partner

He said since 2009, China had become Africa's biggest trading partner for nine consecutive years, with China's investment in Africa reaching more than US$100 billion.

He promised to work closely with his Ghanaian friends to make unremitting efforts for the continued development of China-Ghana cooperation and friendship.

“China and Africa have a long-term friendship with a shared future. Strengthening solidarity and cooperation with African countries has always been an important basis for China's foreign policy,” he stated.

Mr Shi pointed out that China and Africa were sincere partners on the road to development and natural allies on international affairs.

He recalled that in March 2013, President Xi chose Africa as the destination of his first foreign visit after he was elected as Chinese president.

About three weeks ago, President Xi concluded his first visit after his re-election as the President of China.

President Xi emphasised that developing solidarity and cooperation with African countries was China's long-term and firm strategic choice.

6,500 Ghanaian students

Presently, more than 6,500 Ghanaian students are studying in China, ranking high among all African countries for four consecutive years.

According to Mr Shi, by the end of 2017, 1,076 Ghanaian students were on the Chinese Government Scholarship, adding that many of them had achieved academic success and had used the knowledge acquired in China to promote economic and trade cooperation and cultural exchanges between the two countries and had become the backbone of the development of Ghana.

Ambassador Shi announced that China had established two Confucius institutes in Ghana, and thousands of students were learning the Chinese language.

Just this month, he noted, a student of the University of Ghana, Mr Duncan Acorlor, won the second prize and the most popular contest online in the finals of the “Chinese Bridge” Chinese Proficiency Competition, which was just concluded in the Hunan Province in China.

Mr Acorlor shared his experience in learning Chinese at the reception, with guests and awardees.

The Ambassador said he was also happy to note that in 2017, nearly 1,000 Ghanaian professionals received training in China, ranking top in the world, saying more than 6,000 Ghanaian officials and technicians received training in China by July 2018, involving agriculture, infrastructure, education and health among other fields.

70 Awardees

The ambassador later presented admission letters to the 70 students who have received scholarships to study in various fields in China.

Their programmes include Medicine, Economics, International Trade, Business Management, Software Development, Agricultural Science, Oil Engineering, Education and Tourism.

He expressed the hope that the students would make persistent efforts to master the knowledge of their major, study the Chinese culture with a history of 5,000 years, make Chinese friends and contribute to the cause of friendship between China and Ghana.

Education Minister

In an address read on behalf of the Minister of Education, Dr Matthew Opoku Prempeh, the Chief Director at the Education Ministry, Mr Enoch Cobbinah, reminded the students to lead their lives accordingly and above reproach.

The Education Minister also advised the students to respect the laws and customs of their host country, which is the only way to project Ghana and the people.

“We look forward to welcoming you back home in the near future as you bring your new skills to bear on making life better for your fellow citizens and being a part of this country’s development agenda,” he added.

Present at the reception were the Registrar of Ghana Scholarships Secretariat, Mr Kingsley Agyemang, and the Chinese Director of the Conficius Institute at the University of Ghana, Dr Mei Meilian.