Africa urged to develop common position in co-operation negotiations with China
Nairobi, Kenya, 23rd July 2018—African countries have been urged to develop a common position in their engagement with China in the run-up to the Ministerial Conference and Heads of States and government Summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) taking place in Beijing in September. The African Union Commission and Africa's Regional Economic Communities (RECs) are also encouraged to strengthen their engagement in the FOCAC process to ensure regional and continental development strategies are fully considered and carry the aspirations of the African continent.
FOCAC is the premier platform through which trade and investment is mediated between China and African countries. Since its formation in 2000, FOCAC has evolved through six Ministerial Meetings, each of which led to a growing portfolio of development projects that have led to significant growth in investment and trade. The 2018 FOCAC Summit will be held in Beijing in September under the theme “win-win cooperation and join hands to build a closer community with a shared future for China and Africa.”
The call was made by participants of the Regional Awareness and Capacity Building Workshop Towards FOCAC 2018 that was held in Nairobi during June 19th-20th. Organised by TRAFFIC and WWF, the aim of the workshop was to provide a platform for dialogue, exchange and sharing of good practices and lessons learned amongst key government officials, Civil Society Organizations and other relevant stakeholders to inform their preparation for a strategic engagement in FOCAC 2018. More than 40 participants attended the meeting, including government and civil society representatives from eleven countries in Africa.
TRAFFIC's Policy & Partnership Coordinator for Africa, Mr Taye Teferi, said that China has a comprehensive Africa policy going into FOCAC, while Africa has yet to develop one. "The participants felt that Africa should develop an African-grown comprehensive agenda and strategy going into negotiations with the Chinese that emphasises policy coordination under the African Union's Agenda 2063 ambitions. They recommended that Africa identifies priorities for FOCAC at the country level, as well as at the levels of its Regional Economic Communities and the African Union.”
"FOCAC should also provide meaningful financial support for the successful implementation of SDGs and Agenda 2063’s ten-year plan,” he added.
Agenda 2063 was adopted by African leaders in 2015 as the continent’s new long-term vision for the next 50 years and aims to optimise the use of Africa’s resources for the benefit of the continent’s people. "It is important to ensure that FOCAC projects are integrated into and consistent with Agenda 2063, national development strategies and the wider Sustainable Development Goals of the UN's Agenda 2030", Teferi said.
He added that FOCAC commitments must also meet critical environmental and social sustainability standards and, in this regard, the workshop made a number of key recommendations on themes related to infrastructure, natural resource-based economies, renewable energy and wildlife. "For example, participants stressed the importance of FOCAC recognizing and addressing wildlife crime as a cross-cutting issue, which poses a threat not only to wildlife but also to regional security, rule of law, good governance, economic growth and social development," said Teferi.
"These underpin the trust-based relationship between China and its African partners and FOCAC should support actions to strengthen capacity of wildlife management agencies building on the commitments of the Johannesburg Action Plan."
The Johannesburg Action Plan (2016-2018) was adopted at the Second FOCAC Summit and Sixth Ministerial Conference of FOCAC that took place in 2015 and included commitments by China and 50 African Member States to work closely to combat illegal trade of fauna and flora products.
"Workshop participants urged that the Action Plan coming out of FOCAC Summit 2018, should have a clear commitment to environmental and social sustainability," Teferi said. "A clear financing as well as implementation-tracking mechanism with measurable indicators of success is also needed” he added.
• Recommendations by the participants of the Regional Awareness and Capacity Building Workshop towards the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) 2018 (in English)
• Recommandations des participants à l’atelier régional de sensibilisation et de renforcement des capacités sur la Forum sur la Coopération sino-africaine (FCSA) 2018 (en français)
• Regional awareness and capacity building workshop towards FOCAC 2018: Proceedings
WWF and TRAFFIC are grateful for the support extended by the following entities towards making this workshop a success:
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WWF is one of the world’s largest and most respected independent conservation organisations, with over 5 million supporters and a global network active in over 100 countries. WWF’s mission is to stop the degradation of the earth’s natural environment and to build a future in which humans live in harmony with nature.
Germany’s Partnership against Poaching and Illegal Wildlife Trade (Ivory and Rhino-Horn) in Africa and Asia, implemented by GIZ on behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) and the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU), through TRAFFIC’s project DETER.