Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi emphasized Africa’s independence in development and announced the return of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) in person for its triennial summit in the autumn, underscoring China’s commitment to supporting Africa’s self-driven development and cooperation.

  • Models imposed from outside have brought neither ‘stability nor prosperity’ to African countries, foreign minister tells ‘two sessions’ press conference
  • Wang said triennial FOCAC summit will take place in autumn as an in-person event. The multilateral event was last held online during the pandemic

Africa and China have fought “shoulder to shoulder” against imperialism and colonialism, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said on Thursday, as he pledged Beijing’s continued support for African development.

Wang said Africa should not be marginalised and urged “all sides” of the global community to support the continent with “real actions” and a respect for Africa’s own development approaches.

“African countries are experiencing a new awakening. Models imposed from outside have brought Africa neither stability nor prosperity,” he told the press during the annual “two sessions” of China’s top legislature and political advisory body in Beijing.

“African countries need to explore development paths suited to their national conditions and keep their future and destiny firmly in their own hands,” he said.

Wang also said that the multilateral Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) would return in the autumn as an “in-person” event. The triennial summit’s eighth instalment in 2021 was moved online because of the pandemic.

China will support an Africa that is “truly independent in thinking and ideas” in a “new historical process”, Wang said, reiterating Beijing’s continued insistence on the continent’s freedom from external pressures.

It has long been Africa’s position that the global governance system disproportionately favours the West – a view shared by Beijing, which supported last year’s successful African bid for a seat at the G20.

“China always holds that Africa should not be marginalised. While China-Africa cooperation thrives, other major countries have again turned their eyes to Africa – China welcomes that,” Wang said.

He added that China has remained Africa’s biggest trading partner over the past 15 years.

“We have fought shoulder to shoulder against imperialism and colonialism, we have supported each other in pursuit of development, we have always stood for justice in a changing international landscape.”

Turning to the summit, Wang said Chinese and African leaders will discuss development and cooperation, as well as exchange governance experiences. “I believe that through this summit, China and Africa will enhance their long-standing friendship.”

He added that the summit would also “deepen unity and collaboration to open up new vistas for faster common development and start a new chapter for the China-Africa community with a shared future”.

“China will continue to support Africa in its self-driven development and faster modernisation, and hopes that all sides will pay more attention to, and increase input for Africa’s development, as China has done.”

Wang visited four African countries – Egypt, Tunisia, Togo and Ivory Coast – as well as Brazil and Jamaica in the Americas in January. The year before, former foreign minister Qin Gang visited five African countries and the African Union.

“Chinese foreign ministers start their overseas visits every year with a trip to Africa … a tradition that has continued for 34 years,” Wang told the press.

“This is unique in the history of international exchanges. It is so because China and Africa are brothers, treating each other with sincerity and sharing a common future,” he said.

President Xi Jinping has also made frequent visits to Africa, with 11 trips between 2014 and 2023. Last week, he welcomed his Sierra Leonean counterpart Julius Maada Bio to a state visit in Beijing.

The two leaders committed to strengthening their cooperation at the UN Security Council so they could “jointly safeguard the interests of Africa and developing countries”.

Sierra Leone is a non-permanent member of the council, representing the interests of African countries, while China is a permanent member with veto power. Beijing also supports greater representation for Africa on the UN security body.