By John Okeke
President Muhammadu Buhari will join
Chinese and other African leaders to address the Beijing Summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) in China next month.
The Chinese Ambassador to Nigeria, Dr. Zhou Pingjian, disclosed this to journalists in Abuja .
The summit slated for September in the Chinese capital, is themed “China and Africa: Toward an Even Stronger Community with a Shared Future through Win-Win Cooperation.”
FOCAC is a key platform for collective dialogue and cooperation between China and African countries.
Since the forum was launched in Beijing in 2000, China’s trade with Africa has overtaken that of the traditional partners, Europe and the United States.
The last summit was held in December 2015 in Johannesburg, South Africa, where the Chinese President Xi Jinping announced $60 billion funding support for infrastructure development in Africa.
The ambassador said the implementation work of the FOCAC Johannesburg summit had been going smoothly with prominent achievements in Nigeria.
“President Xi Jinping will open the summit, while President Muhammadu Buhari and other African leaders will address the gathering,” the envoy said.
He also disclosed that officials from 52 African countries, including the African Union Commission, are expected to attend the summit.
The envoy said: “The China-Nigeria relations have since entered a new stage of rapid development. It is our firm belief that President Buhari’s attendance at the upcoming FOCAC Beijing summit will make important contribution to China-Africa cooperation and bring about new opportunities to grow China-Nigeria strategic partnership.”
Apart from African leaders, representatives of related regional organisations in Africa and international organizations will also participate in relevant activities of the summit.
Objectives of FOCAC include equal consultation, enhancing understanding, expanding consensus, strengthening friendship and promoting cooperation between African countries and China.
The FOCAC follow-up mechanisms are built at three levels: The Ministerial Conference is held every three years; the Senior Officials Follow-up Meeting and the Senior Officials Preparatory Meeting for the Ministerial Conference are held respectively in the year and a few days before the Ministerial conference os held.