3. Growing Cooperation on Social Development
China is promoting cooperation with Africa in social fields such as poverty reduction, health, education, science and technology, environmental protection, climate change and exchanges among young people and women. Through strengthening exchanges, providing assistance and sharing experience, China is helping African countries to improve their comprehensive social development, which then provides internal impetus for their economic growth.
– Sharing experience in poverty reduction. Poverty is a common challenge facing China and Africa. Ending poverty is the primary goal of the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. With hundreds of millions of poor people having worked their way out of poverty, China has created a successful path of poverty eradication with Chinese characteristics, which has served as a reference for addressing the problem in Africa. China has effectively implemented the Program for Strengthening China-Africa Cooperation on Poverty Reduction. With mechanisms like the FOCAC Africa-China Poverty Reduction and Development Conference, and the China-Africa Youth Exchange Program on Poverty Reduction and Development, China has supported local governments, academics, enterprises, and youth and non-governmental organizations in both China and Africa in carrying out various forms of exchange and pragmatic cooperation on poverty reduction. Since 2010, 10 FOCAC Africa-China Poverty Reduction and Development conferences have been held in countries such as China, Ethiopia, South Africa and Uganda, with nearly 1,600 participants in total. From 2005 to 2021, China organized 160 poverty reduction and foreign aid training programs. Some 2,700 people from 53 African countries participated in the training, accounting for almost 60 percent of the total number of trainees.
– Enhancing medical and health cooperation. The Chinese government has always ranked people and lives above everything else. Through concrete actions, China has helped African countries respond to various epidemics and plagues and build a public health system, promoting a China-Africa community of health. One of the longest and most effective cooperation projects that involves the greatest number of African countries is the dispatch of Chinese medical teams. The first one, which was sent to Algeria in 1963, marked the first chapter in the story of China's medical aid to Africa. Over the past 58 years, China has sent a total of 23,000 medical team members to Africa, who have treated 230 million patients. At present, there are nearly 1,000 Chinese medical workers in 45 African countries, working at 98 medical centers. They are hailed by the local Africans as the health messengers in white, models of South-South cooperation and most welcome guests. Chinese medical teams carried out 34 free clinical programs under the Brightness Action initiative, restoring the eyesight of almost 10,000 African cataract patients. China focuses on helping African countries strengthen medical specialties, training 20,000 African medical personnel. To date, it has helped 18 African countries establish 20 centers in different medical specialties, covering cardiology, critical care medicine, trauma and endoscopy. Paired cooperation mechanisms have been established between the Chinese side and 45 hospitals in 40 African countries. China supports African countries in improving their capacity in border health and quarantine inspection, and sends disease control experts to the Africa Center for Disease Control and Prevention to provide technical support.
– Expanding cooperation in education and human resources. China vigorously supports education in Africa. Based on the needs of African countries for economic and social development, it helps train much-needed professionals for African countries and encourages outstanding African youth to study in China through several scholarships. Starting from 2012, the two sides have implemented the 20+20 Cooperation Plan for Chinese and African Institutions of Higher Education as an exchange and cooperation platform among universities. China set up an educational trust fund under UNESCO to provide teacher training for more than 10,000 teachers in African countries. Since 2018, China has established Luban Workshops together with colleges and universities in countries including Egypt, South Africa, Djibouti and Kenya, sharing quality vocational education resources with Africa and training high-caliber technical personnel to meet the urgent needs of economic and social development on the continent. China has helped more than 30 African universities set up Chinese language departments or Chinese language majors. In cooperation with China, 16 African countries have incorporated the Chinese language into their national education systems. The two sides have established 61 Confucius Institutes and 48 Confucius Classrooms in Africa. Since 2004, China has sent a total of 5,500 Chinese language teachers and volunteers to 48 African nations.
– Stepping up scientific and technological collaboration, and knowledge sharing. China actively strengthens communication and coordination with Africa in terms of technological innovation strategies. It shares experience and achievements, and promotes the exchange and training of professionals and technology transfer, as well as innovation and entrepreneurship on both sides. China and African countries have set up high-level joint laboratories, the China-Africa Joint Research Center, and an innovation cooperation center. In recent years, China has assisted Africa in cultivating a large number of scientific and technological talents through projects such as the Alliance of International Science Organizations in the Belt and Road Region Scholarship, Chinese government scholarships, the Talented Young Scientist Program, and the Innovative Talent Exchange Project. Breakthroughs have been made in space cooperation. Using China's remote sensing data, the two parties carry out cooperation in the fields of disaster prevention and mitigation, radio astronomy, satellite navigation and positioning, and precision agriculture. They also participate together in the Square Kilometer Array Project. The complete satellite assembly integration and test center built by Egypt with China's help has laid solid foundations for Egypt's aerospace industry. China also assisted Algeria and Sudan to launch their first artificial satellites.
– Expanding collaboration in eco-environmental protection and jointly responding to climate change. The peoples of China and Africa share a common yearning for a beautiful environment and a better life. As a result, they work together to advocate green, low-carbon, recyclable and sustainable development and safeguard the common homeland of humanity. Since 2012, they have co-organized a seminar on green cooperation guiding the future economy and a ministerial conference on China-Africa environmental cooperation, promoting communication and coordination of environmental governance policies. The China-Africa Environmental Cooperation Center began operations in 2020 with the participation of China and African countries, as well as other international organizations, research institutions, and enterprises. As of September 2021, related institutions in seven African countries, including Angola and Kenya, have joined the International Coalition for Green Development on the Belt and Road, devised to contribute to the green development of the Belt and Road Initiative. China has carried out South-South cooperation on tackling climate change, and to date has signed 15 cooperation agreements with 14 African countries. Various approaches have been explored in support of Africa's response to the issue, such as implementing mitigation and adaptation programs, jointly setting up pilot low-carbon industrial parks, and conducting training in capacity-building. For example, the Ethiopian Remote Sensing Satellite-1, or ETRSS-1, launched with Chinese help, is one of the fruits of China's first remote sensing satellite cooperation with Africa. China and Africa crack down together on transnational organized crimes related to endangered wildlife trafficking, through intelligence sharing in environmental protection laws and regulations and helping each other to build capacity in law enforcement. While implementing the Convention on Biological Diversity and the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, and dealing with other related affairs, China strengthens communication and coordination with African countries, in an endeavor to protect and ensure the sustainable exploitation of global wild fauna and flora.
4. People-to-People and Cultural Exchanges
As an old Chinese saying goes, "State-to-state relations thrive when there is friendship between the peoples." China and African countries have embraced further exchanges in culture, media, science and technology, and think tanks, and facilitated dialogues among youth and women. These efforts have promoted people-to-people bonds and laid solid foundations for further developments.
– Expanding exchanges and cooperation in the cultural sector and tourism. The two sides continue to sign implementation plans for intergovernmental agreements on signature programs such as the Year of China, the Year of Culture, Happy Spring Festival, Chinese and African Cultures in Focus, and Insight on China, further enhancing cultural exchanges and cooperation. As of December 2020, 346 such implementation plans had been inked and carried out. From 2013 to 2020, Chinese art troupes made 140 visits to Africa to hold performances. Since 2013, art troupes from 28 African countries have been invited to perform in China. Since 2016, China has held hundreds of cultural seminars for African countries, with nearly 1,500 African participants in total. Chinese cultural centers have been set up in Mauritius, Benin, Egypt, Nigeria, Tanzania and Morocco. The Chinese Government has signed documents with counterparts in Tunisia, Kenya, C?te d'Ivoire, Senegal, Ethiopia and Mozambique on establishing Chinese cultural centers in these countries or their cultural centers in China. To date China has signed bilateral documents on cooperation in tourism with 31 African countries. It has listed 34 African countries as outbound group tour destinations for its citizens, and officially launched group tourism businesses for its people with 22 African countries.
– Working on closer cooperation in the press, the media, and film and television. China and Africa continue to strengthen dialogue and exchanges on furthering news cooperation, managing cyberspace, and handling media relations. To this end, exchange events have been held such as the China-Africa Media Summit and the Forum on China-Africa Media Cooperation. Thirty African media outlets have joined the Belt and Road News Alliance, and 42 African countries have participated in the Belt and Road Media Community Summit Forum. China supports the development of the African radio, film and television industries. This can be seen from the effort to provide satellite TV reception to 10,000 African villages, and to support outdoor screening activities – the Caravan program – in rural areas and remote suburbs, covering more than 70 villages and regions in 12 countries. China and Africa encourage joint development and production of more works that tell stories about Africa and China-Africa friendship. Chinese companies provide program resources in 11 languages on more than 600 channels for 13 million African users. In recent years, China has carried out multilingual translations of about 200 outstanding Chinese audiovisual works for Africa and held Chinese film screenings and exhibitions in more than 10 African countries. Each year, a number of African films are screened at Chinese film festivals as well.
– Encouraging academic exchanges and cooperation among think tanks. China and Africa support various forms of cooperation among academic research institutions, think tanks and universities in carrying out subject research, academic exchanges and publication of works. Support is given to sharing research and achievements, especially on topics such as state governance, development paths, industrial capacity cooperation, culture, and law. Both sides have also been working on enhancing research strengths. More than 80 think tanks and academic research institutions have participated in the China-Africa Joint Research and Exchange Plan. The Fifth Ministerial Conference of FOCAC held in 2012 proposed to implement the China-Africa Think Tanks 10+10 Partnership Plan for long-term paired cooperation. In April 2019, China-Africa Institute was established in Beijing.
– Increasing non-governmental exchanges. China and African countries have actively implemented the Proposals on China-Africa People-to-People Exchanges and Cooperation, the China-Africa People-to-People Friendship Action, the Silk Road Community Building Program, and the China-Africa People-to-People Friendship and Partnership Program. They support trade unions, other non-governmental organizations and social groups in engaging in exchanges. Since 2011, the two sides have held six China-Africa People's Forums. In addition, five China-Africa Young Leaders Forums, four Asian-African Youth Festivals and three China-Africa Youth Galas have been held since 2012. The 1st China-Africa Future Leaders' Dialogue was held in 2021. As of 2020, the Chinese Government has dispatched 484 young volunteers to 16 African countries. It has established contacts and exchanges with more than 100 women's organizations in 53 African countries. Centers dedicated to friendly exchanges or training among women have been established in Mauritius, Lesotho, Djibouti, Zimbabwe and Sudan.