China will welcome African leaders to Beijing next week for the second Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation, but ahead of the event it also welcomed praise from the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) on how the Belt and Road Initiative can boost African jobs.
“The positive remarks by UNECA Executive Secretary (Vera) Songwe again reflect the endorsement by African countries and people. So far, 37 African countries and the AU Commission have signed BRI cooperation agreements with China,” said Lu Kang, spokesman for China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. “The two sides have already launched many important cooperation projects and achieved early harvests.”
Africa’s history and its geographical links to China are “indispensable and important” for achieving the Belt and Road vision, he said. “The vision, goals and cooperation areas of the BRI and the objectives and priorities of Africa’s efforts to achieve development and revitalization by advancing Agenda 2063 are mutually reinforcing,” Lu added.
Songwe told Xinhua in an interview last week that the Belt and Road Initiative will positively affect hundreds of millions of people in different countries, while it helps Africa develop infrastructure and employment.
“This (BRI) is probably one of the biggest growth and development initiatives that we have in the world,” Songwe said, noting that China’s BRI is essential to Africa’s future.
Leaders and senior representatives from many African countries will attend the Beijing forum, Lu said. “China stands ready to work with African countries,” he said, stressing mutual aligned goals. “We will advance bilateral cooperation in areas including industries, infrastructure, trade and investment, improve the living standards of African people, bring more development dividends to African countries, and deliver more benefits to people in China and Africa.”
Image: China MFA