Text by Wu Shouqiang
China and several African countries are looking to push forward local-level cooperation at the First Forum on China-Africa Local Government Cooperation scheduled for August 27 and 28 in Beijing. The Forum will be co-hosted by the Chinese People´s Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries (CPAFFC) and the United Cities and Local Governments of Africa (UCLGA), and co-sponsored by Chinese-African People’s Friendship Association (CAPFA) and the Wenzhou Enterprises Chamber of Commerce in Beijing (WECCB).
Prior to the Forum, Li Xiaolin, president of CPAFFC, Wu Jiaqi, president of WECCB, and several African envoys in China attended the inauguration ceremony of the Forum and took the questions from the press.
The Forum, themed at “Enhancing Local Cooperation, Promoting Common Development,” is expecting 1,200 attendees, including senior officials from the Chinese government at every level, representatives of NGOs, entrepreneurs, and scholars, along with former and current African state heads, ministers, governors and mayors, as well as representatives of international and regional organizations. During the Forum, African ambassadors and diplomats in China have also been invited to participate in major activities.
Africans are already showing great enthusiasm for the Forum. Around 300 people from 39 African countries confirmed participation, including Vice President Edward Ssekandi of Uganda, First Vice-President Therence Sinunguruza of Burundi, former Prime Minister Edem Kodjo of Togo, former First Vice-President Yves Sahinguvu of Burundi, Mrs. Ida Odinga, wife of the Prime Minister of Kenya, and eight ministers, 70 governors and mayors, as well as hundreds of entrepreneurs. Former President Olusegun Obasanjo of Nigeria and AU Commission Chairperson Jean Ping are considering rearranging their schedules to make room for the Forum.
The Forum consists of two parts: The first is a China-Africa Local Government Summit. Both sides will engage in extensive discussions on cooperation in urban infrastructure, sustainable development, and many other sectors. The second part is the China-Africa Economic & Trade Forum. Hundreds of entrepreneurs from both sides will join in exploring potential for cooperation.