Connecting the Dots
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  CHINA and Africa furthered their relations and charted a future course at the 2018 Beijing Summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) which took place in September.
  Building the Belt and Road Together
  While addressing the opening ceremony of the Sixth Conference of Chinese and African Entrepreneurs during the summit, Chinese President Xi Jinping explained what China and Africa should do to jointly build the Belt and Road. From his address, it can be seen that the entire African continent will be a priority for future cooperation under the framework of the Belt and Road Initiative. Africa is a natural partner in the initiative as infrastructure connectivity and international cooperation in terms of industrial capacity are among the things that African countries need most.
  Africa is expected to emerge as one of the most dynamic regions for international cooperation under the Belt and Road Initiative for historical and practical reasons. It could become China’s best partner in advancing the building of the community with a shared future for mankind. Through the Belt and Road Initiative, China and Africa will further upgrade their relations and reinforce their comprehensive strategic partnership. The deepening China-Africa relations will be demonstrative as an example of international cooperation under the Belt and Road Initiative.
  During the Beijing Summit, African leaders said that the Belt and Road Initiative had been translated into concrete economic development projects funded by Chinese businesses in Africa. While attending the summit in Beijing, some African leaders inked memoranda of understanding (MoU) with China on jointly building the Belt and Road and cooperation on industrial capacity. A host of investment and trade promotion events were launched by African leaders, some of whom were on hand to introduce investment incentives and promote their countries personally.
  Countries in East Africa, West Asia, and North Africa as well as those from the southern Africa, which have benefited from the initiative over the past years, shared their experience with those from West and Central Africa. Newcomers are stepping up efforts to get familiar with the initiative and priorities for cooperation so as to align their own national strategies with it.
  Competent departments in countries that have signed MoUs are working with Chinese counterparts to translate the guiding principles and agreements into concrete and tangible projects. They are combining their efforts to launch more flagship and demonstrative projects for win-win partnerships.   It is foreseeable that China will work with African partners to build new economic cooperation zones and upgrade the existing zones in a quest to foster industrial clusters in host countries. The capacity building efforts will advance industrialization in these countries and further improve fiscal sustainability.
  China is willing to see that the Belt and Road Initiative will promote connectivity among sub-regional countries in North Africa, East Africa, West Africa, and the central and southern parts of the continent to lower the transport and telecommunication costs and unleash more dividends for economic development. The initiative is also open to developed countries, who instead of being “onlookers,” are welcome to join the initiative. China is ready to foster tripartite cooperation with developed countries and give full play to all parties’ comparative advantages to launch demonstrative tripartite cooperation projects in Africa. It envisages win-win outcomes among China, Africa, and any developed country by improving economic development in Africa.
  China is also willing to strengthen cooperation with multilateral institutions and international financial agencies to promote infrastructure connectivity and industrialization in Africa, and move African economies up along the global industrial value chain. With these measures, the country is working in synergy with African countries for a prosperous Africa.

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