LONDON (The Southern African Times) – Danilo Turk, former Slovenian president and a member of InterAction Council, has highlighted the growing importance of China’s relations with African countries.
In an exclusive interview, days before the opening of the 8th Ministerial Conference of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC), Turk said China’s vaccine support is “an absolute priority number one” to ensure the stability and long-term cooperation between China and African countries.
Turk noted that Belt and Road Initiative agreements had been struck with 47 of the 54 African countries, and pointed out the huge development challenges the continent faces.
“So this in itself shows the first overall importance of the region and the understanding of China for investing in cooperation with Africa,” the former Slovenian president said.
Unlike European countries, which have a long colonial history in Africa, Turk believes that China’s cooperation in Africa is taking a different strategy. “China has very wisely focused on infrastructure, on telecommunications, on manufacturing industry and also on financial industry,” he noted.
By doing so, Turk said that China has established “a very good basis for further development” and “the specific future of FOCAC“ to address what he called “the most vital aspect of African development” – infrastructure.
Noting that China has been offering vaccines to African countries to support their fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, the former Slovenian president said such support is “an absolute priority number one” to ensure African countries get enough vaccines as well as the manufacturing capacity for producing vaccines.
He hopes that China, during the upcoming FOCAC ministerial meeting, will demonstrate its capability to provide more support for vaccines in Africa in the immediate future so as to “reassure Africa about the stability and long-term nature of China-Africa cooperation.”
“The world is going through a period of kind of turmoil which creates doubts about, you know, stability of cooperation and cooperative frameworks for the future. China is perhaps the least burdened by this, so it comes with a big advantage to Dakar in Senegal and can reassure the African country that they have a stable, long term partner who will stay with Africa for, you know, for the for the future,” Turk said.