China-Africa union helping continent’s economic effort, says Rwanda ambassador

Africa's integration efforts and economic transition need the support of international partners, especially China, an African diplomat said on Friday.

Charles Kayonga, Rwanda's ambassador to China, made the remarks during his speech at a gala evening held by the African diplomatic corps in Beijing, which also celebrated the 55th anniversary of the forming of the African Union.

With the continent's youth population growing, Africa is making efforts to pave a way to prosperity for its people, especially young people, who are set to double in number to 830 million by 2050, he said.

Forty-four African nations signed the Africa Continental Free Trade treaty in Rwanda, the current AU chair, on March 21, with the purpose of establishing a single liberalized market that will spur industrialization, infrastructure development, economic diversification and trade across the continent that is home to around 1.2 billion people.

By 2022, its treaty is expected to increase intra-African trade by 52 percent from the level in 2010, Kayonga said.

Nevertheless, he stressed integration efforts and economic transition will not be successful without support from international partners, especially China.

The cooperation between China and Africa is based on shared experience and purpose. This enabled a cooperation mechanism to be established at the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation in 2000 and yielded fruitful results, he added.

Cao Jianming, vice-chairperson of the Standing Committee of China's National People's Congress, agreed with the ambassador and said that China has been a firm supporter of Africa in its pursuit of strength with the AU from a strategic and long-term perspective.

"China and Africa have forged a deep traditional friendship, which is underpinned by mutual understanding, mutual respect and mutual support," he said.

The Beijing summit of FOCAC will be held in September, under the theme of "China and Africa: Toward an Even Stronger Community with a Shared Future Through Win-Win Cooperation".

The summit will focus on further China-Africa cooperation under the Belt and Road Initiative, the United Nations 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda, the 2063 Agenda of the AU and the respective development strategies of African countries, Cao said.