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Chinese President Xi Jinping [center] is seen with foreign leaders attending the Beijing Summit | Coastweek

BEIJING China (Xinhua) -- Chinese President Xi Jinping [center] is seen with foreign leaders attending the Beijing Summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) head for the venue of the summit's opening ceremony at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, capital of China. The FOCAC Beijing Summit opened here on Monday. XINHUA PHOTO - PANG XINGLEI

Sino-Africa technology co-operation boosts African development

By Xinhua writers Cao Kai, Wang Xiaopeng and Li Wei WUHAN China (Xinhua) -- If not for the arrival of Chinese scientists, Meshack Mutevu would still be living in a house with a metal roof and mud walls like his forefathers, subsisting on a few mango trees and raising goats.

The life of the 44-year-old Kenyan began to change when scientists from the Sino-Africa Joint Research Center (SAJOREC) with the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) discovered that the local moringa was rich in selenium and had great market potential due to its health benefits after a farm produce investigation in 2015.

In partnership with SAJOREC, Botanic Diamond, a Kenya-based company run by Chinese, offered free seeds and technical guidance to local residents and procured the moringa after it was harvested.

Mutevu planted over 200 moringa trees, which earned him an annual income of more than 10,000 U.S. dollars, and enabled him to build a 400-square-meter villa in just two years.

"Sino-Africa cooperation should not stay in laboratories and academic papers," said Wang Qingfeng, director of SAJOREC.

"The fundamental research should be integrated into local situations."

Wang said the center has transformed a number of Kenyan plants, including baobab and toothbrush trees, into medicinal teas, essential oils, and toothpaste, adding that many Kenyan farmers can lift themselves out of poverty by planting these plants.

"The combination of the CAS’s advantages in technology and private companies’ grasp of the market will benefit more ordinary Kenyan households," said Cui Chaojie, chairman of Botanic Diamond, which has developed 15 products out of 11 Kenyan plants.

Cui said he plans to visit Shanghai in November to attend the China International Import Expo, trying to tap the lucrative Chinese market with quality African products.

Since its establishment in 2013, SAJOREC has put forward more than 45 joint research programs focusing on biodiversity investigation, pathogenic microorganism detection, geographic science and remote sensing, high-yield crop cultivation demonstration as well as land and water resources management.

"The fact that China has managed to lift millions of its citizens out of poverty in an unprecedented time frame using improved agricultural, scientific and technological approaches is a clear indication that there is room for close cooperation between China and Africa for the improvement of African lives," said Gituru Robert Wahiti, co-director of SAJOREC.

To ease food shortages in Africa, SAJOREC has been introducing Chinese crop varieties into Africa. Trial plantings of wheat, rice, corn, sweet sorghum and grapes in Kenya, Ethiopia, Uganda and other countries have shown promising results.

In order to help solve the issues of drought and water pollution which hinders the economic development of African countries, SAJOREC’s scientists have completed an investigation and assessment of the water quality in Tanzanian cities.

They are also preparing a project on sustainable usage and management of key water towers in Kenya to create a national report on the sanitation management and sustainable usage of the country’s drinking water.

"Teaching one to fish is better than giving him fish. China has been helping African countries to improve their self-development capabilities as a new way of aid," said Li Yin, deputy head of the CAS International Cooperation Department.

Teresiah Muciku Mungai, a doctoral student currently studying at the CAS Wuhan Botanical Garden, is researching soil samples taken back from Kenyan residential compounds, schools and public spaces with the state-of-the-art equipment in the laboratory.

"We should learn from China’s experiences and also lessons in economic development and environmental protection," said the 27-year-old Kenyan.

The technology cooperation between China and African counties is green and sustainable and will create new room for future cooperation, said Liu Hongwu, head of the African Studies Institute of Zhejiang Normal University.

Liu called for more policies and financial incentives to encourage Chinese universities and scientific institutions to undertake technology cooperation in Africa.


Facts and Figures: China-Africa ties: cooperation for shared future

BEIJING China (Xinhua) -- The 2018 Beijing Summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC), scheduled for Sept. 3 and 4, is expected to set a new path for a higher level of China-Africa cooperation.

Since 2000 when the FOCAC was formally founded, especially since the 2006 Beijing summit and the 2015 Johannesburg summit of FOCAC, China and Africa have seen closer ties in various respects, producing win-win results toward the goal of building an even stronger community with a shared future.

Here are key facts and figures worth knowing to better understand the China-Africa cooperation:

COMPREHENSIVE STRATEGIC AND CO-OPERATIVE PARTNERSHIP: Chinese President Xi Jinping announced at the Johannesburg summit that he and African leaders had reached a unanimous consensus on lifting China-Africa relations to a comprehensive strategic and cooperative partnership.

Earlier in 2013, during his first visit to Africa since taking office as Chinese president, Xi expounded on China’s Africa policy, noting that China adheres to the principles of sincerity, practical results, affinity and good faith and upholds the values of friendship, justice and shared interests.

TRADE AND INVESTMENT: China’s trade with Africa has registered fast growth.

From 2000 to 2017, the total trade volume between China and Africa increased by 17 times.

China has been Africa’s largest trading partner for nine consecutive years. In 2017, China’s trade with Africa surged 14 percent year on year to 170 billion U.S. dollars.

The fast growth continued into the first half of 2018 when the trade volume jumped 16 percent to nearly 100 billion dollars.

China’s investments into Africa surged by more than 100 times from 2000 to 2017.

In the past three years, annual Chinese direct investment into Africa was about 3 billion dollars on average.

By the end of 2017, China’s investments of all kinds into Africa totaled 100 billion dollars, covering almost every country on the continent.

TEN COOPERATION PLANS: In 2015, China announced 10 cooperation plans for the next three years to boost its cooperation with Africa and offered 60 billion U.S. dollars of funding support to ensure the implementation of the initiatives.

The big package covers areas of industrialization, agricultural modernization, infrastructure, financial services, green development, trade and investment facilitation, poverty reduction and public welfare, public health, people-to-people exchanges and peace and security.

According to preliminary estimates, Chinese projects completed and underway under these cooperation plans are expected to bring the continent 30,000 km of highways, 85 million tonnes per year of harbor capacity, over 9 million tonnes per day of water-cleaning capacity and about 20,000-megawatt power generating capacity while creating some 900,000 local jobs.

MAJOR PROJECTS: Infrastructure construction has been one of the priorities in China-Africa cooperation. Last year, a 480 km China-funded railway opened to connect Nairobi and Mombasa, reducing traveling time between Kenya’s two biggest cities by half and creating 46,000 jobs.

China also helped construct Africa’s first transnational electrified rail, which provides landlocked Ethiopia quicker access to seaport in Djibouti.

In July, the China-built International Free Trade Zone in Djibouti was inaugurated, which is estimated to handle over 7 billion dollars worth of trade in the next two years.

FRIENDLY RELATIONS: China has established diplomatic relations with 53 African countries.

Xi has attached great importance to China-Africa relations.

After he was elected Chinese president in 2013 and in 2018, he both chose Africa as the destination of his first foreign visit.

Since the 2015 Johannesburg summit, Xi has visited Africa three times.

Nearly 30 heads of state or government from Africa have visited or attended meetings in China.

PEOPLE-TO-PEOPLE EXCHANGES: The past few years have witnessed an increase in cultural and people-to-people exchanges between the two sides.

There are more than 130 pairs of sister cities between China and Africa. Africa receives over one million Chinese travelers every year.

At the end of 2017, there were 54 Confucius Institutes in 39 African countries.

By the end of 2018, China is expected to train over 200,000 African professionals in various fields via programs in Africa and is expected to train over 40,000 African officials and technicians in China.

THREE SUMMITS: Themed "China and Africa: Toward an Even Stronger Community with a Shared Future through Win-Win Cooperation," the upcoming Beijing summit is the third FOCAC summit. Various African leaders and the chairperson of the African Union Commission will attend the summit, as well as the United Nations Secretary-General as the special guest and 27 international and African regional organizations as observers.

This summit will be a significant diplomatic event hosted by China this year, attended by the largest number of foreign leaders, according to State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi.

The FOCAC summit in Johannesburg was themed "Africa-China Progressing Together: Win-Win Cooperation for Common Development."

The first summit of FOCAC took place in Beijing in 2006, with the theme of "Friendship, Peace, Cooperation and Development."


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