The Second Roundtable Conference on Sino-African Cooperation was convened in the city of Wanning in South China’s Hainan province from November 10 to 11.
 
The roundtable talks, which focused on China’s African foreign policy as directed through non-governmental channels, is a strong complement to the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC), said Ji Peiding, former vice foreign minister and president of the Association of Former Diplomats of China.
 
More than 400 former diplomats, politicians, researchers and entrepreneurs from China and nearly 40 African countries attended the conference.
 
Sun Jiazheng, vice-chairman of the National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) inaugurated the opening ceremony of the conference.
 
The meeting resulted in the creation of the Wanning Declaration, a document viewed as a milestone in public diplomacy between China and Africa.
 
The declaration underscored the agreement made between China and African nations to enhance Sino-African cooperation, said Liu Guijin, former ambassador to Zimbabwe and South Africa.
 
Strengthening Sino-African cooperation is a mutual need and will bring benefit for both sides, the declaration said. It suggested that the Chinese government should increase aid to Africa according to China’s economic development and continue to carry out policies that are preferential toward the continent.
 
It also called on the Chinese government to encourage the private sector to expand investment in Africa and enhance its supervision of market behavior in order to ensure the healthy development of China-Africa economic and trade relations.
 
Ibrahim Boubacar Keita, the former prime minister of Mali, said African nations are willing to enhance both political and economic cooperation with China in order to adapt to globalization and further tap the potential of the continent.
 
Sino-African economic and trade cooperation has witnessed rapid development in recent years. Bilateral trade volume exceeded $122 billion during the first nine months of 2011, an increase of more than 30 percent year-on-year, according to Lu Guozeng, a former vice foreign minister.
 
Lu said more than 1,600 Chinese companies, both state-owned enterprises and privately-owned firms, have invested in Africa, creating more than 350,000 jobs.
 
The roundtable conference was first convened in Beijing in 2010 to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the FOCAC.

 
SOURCE: China Daily
 
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