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Africa

Reviewing 20 Years Of China-Africa Cooperation

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The 20th anniversary of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) was marked this week, with focus on the tremendous strides made in development.

Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi, who led the celebrations in Beijing, said FOCAC heralded a new era of relations between the two sides, especially through strengthened solidarity and friendship.

Outlining some of the infrastructural development, Wang Yi said China has built for Africa over 6,000 kilometers of railways and the same mileage of roads.

China has also built nearly 20 ports and over 80 large-scale power plants, and more than 130 medical facilities, 45 stadiums and over 170 schools powering Africa’s economic and social development.

Wang Yi disclosed that, to date, China has provided some 120,000 government scholarships, and opened 61 Confucius Institutes and 44 Confucius Classrooms in 46 African countries besides sending in more than 21,000 Chinese medical personnel.

FOCAC was inaugurated by Chinese and African leaders in Beijing 20 years ago shortly after the adoption of the United Nations Millennium Declaration.

“A new era was thus opened for China-Africa relations,” Wang Yi said during celebrations in Beijing on Thursday.

Over the two decades, he said, by acting along the prevailing trend of peace, development and cooperation, FOCAC has established itself as a pacesetter for cooperation with Africa, a champion of multilateralism, and a fine example of mutually beneficial cooperation.

How FOCAC has strengthened China-Africa solidarity and friendship. It has grown into a big family where all are equal members bound by brotherly ties and treat each other with respect, regardless of size or strength. We have carried forward the profound friendship forged in our struggles for national liberation.

We have firmly supported each other on issues concerning core interests and major concerns. We have stood together in upholding the banner of multilateralism, fairness and justice. Together, we have elevated the international standing and influence of developing countries and safeguarded the overall interests of the developing world.

Over the past 20 years, FOCAC has come a long way in boosting common development of China and Africa. In 2019, trade between China and Africa hit US$208.7 billion, and total Chinese FDI in Africa reached US$49.1 billion, grown by 20-fold and 100-fold respectively compared with 20 years ago. We have jointly formulated and implemented the ten cooperation plans (adopted at the Johannesburg Summit) and the eight major initiatives (adopted at the Beijing Summit).

Dozens of economic and trade cooperation zones and industrial parks are up and running across Africa. China has built for Africa over 6,000 kilometers of railways and the same mileage of roads, nearly 20 ports and over 80 large-scale power plants, and more than 130 medical facilities, 45 stadiums and 170 or so schools.

These infrastructures have made a big difference in Africa’s economic and social development. The African Union (AU) Conference Center, the Mombasa-Nairobi railway, and the Maputo-Katembe Bridge, key projects in Africa’s drive to achieve the “Century Dream”, have been dedicated one after another, and stand as monumental symbols of the shared development of China and Africa.

Over the past 20 years, FOCAC has come a long way in enhancing the friendship between the Chinese and African peoples. Mechanisms, such as the Think Tank Forum, the People’s Forum, the Press Center and the Youth Festival, are playing a greater role as bridges of friendship.

Chinese State Counselor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi who led celebrations in Beijing on November 12, 2020.

To date, China has provided some 120,000 government scholarships, and opened 61 Confucius Institutes and 44 Confucius Classrooms in 46 African countries. As many as 21,000 Chinese medical personnel have worked, or are working, in 48 African countries, providing treatment to around 220 million African people.

When West Africa was raged by Ebola in 2014, over 1,000 Chinese health professionals defied the dangers and rushed to their help. Today, facing COVID-19, China and Africa have again come together in a joint fight. Last June, President Xi Jinping and African leaders convened an extraordinary summit, sending a powerful message of shared commitment to defeating the virus with solidarity. Time and again, we have supported each other through thick and thin, forging an enduring China-Africa friendship that continues to grow from strength to strength.

Wang Yi said that while the past two decades have been extraordinary for FOCAC, they have also seen the Chinese people striving for national rejuvenation and African countries pursuing strength through unity. In this great historical journey, China and Africa have always been there for each other.

“We have shown the world that with hard work, countries who are still in the process of development can build a better life for their people; and with self-reliance and exploration, China and African countries can find our own path toward prosperity that suits our national conditions,” he said.

COVID-19

According to Wang Yi, the new challenge calls for new responsibility, and the new situation calls for new actions which include how to make sure that China-Africa relations will seize the trend of the times and scale new heights? How to build on our achievement and further upgrade and enhance China-Africa cooperation? How to enable FOCAC to meet the challenges and achieve progress in creative ways?

First, Wang Yi said, “we need to strengthen solidarity and build a stronger community with a shared future”.

At the 2018 FOCAC Beijing Summit, leaders of China and Africa agreed to build a stronger China-Africa community with a shared future.

The new international circumstances we face today further underscore the importance of this strategic decision, a decision that has become more relevant than ever. We must remain guided by the principle of sincerity, real results, amity and good faith and the principle of pursuing the greater good and shared interests.

“We need to firmly support each other in safeguarding national sovereignty and dignity, in independently pursuing a development path suited to national realities, and in protecting legitimate rights to development and achieve national rejuvenation together through joint efforts,” he said.

Wang Yi has also called for need to tide over the current challenge together and build a China-Africa community of health for all.

“China will continue to work with Africa to fully deliver on the outcomes of the FOCAC Beijing Summit and the Extraordinary China-Africa Summit on Solidarity Against COVID-19, with greater focus on public health, economic reopening and improvement of livelihoods. I would like to reaffirm China’s firm commitment to making its vaccines a global public good. When the development of the vaccines is completed and they are available for use, China will actively consider providing them to African countries in need to help secure an early victory against the virus,” he said.

Win-win cooperation to build a China-Africa community of development for all.

China has pledged to continue to support Africa in enhancing infrastructure, advancing industrialization and building up capacity for independent development.

“China welcomes the development of the African Continental Free Trade Area, and will provide cash assistance and capacity-building training to its Secretariat. China and Africa need to deepen free trade cooperation and better connect industrial and supply chains so that Africa can better access the vast China market and join the international economic circulation. China is also ready to work with Africa on a framework of strategic cooperation on climate change to jointly tackle this challenge,” he said.

Shared future for mankind.

Wang Yi said China and Africa are staunch supporters of multilateralism and important forces for world peace and development hence the need to “to take on our historic duty to firmly safeguard the UN’s central role in international and multilateral affairs, defend basic norms governing international relations, and uphold multilateralism, fairness and justice. We must work in concert in addressing global challenges and participating in global governance. By doing so, we will bring about a more equitable and reasonable international order and an open, inclusive, clean and beautiful world that enjoys lasting peace, universal security and common prosperity.”

He urged nations to keep pace with the times to ensure that the FOCAC remains a shining example of China-Africa relations.

The next FOCAC meeting is scheduled to be held next year in Senegal.

China, he said, is ready to work with Africa to make good preparations on the arrangements and deliverables of the meeting.

“We hope the meeting will create greater synergy between China’s second centenary goal and the AU’s Agenda 2063, form new consensus on China-Africa solidarity, explore new cooperation areas, and bring new benefits to the Chinese and African peoples,” he said.

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Cabo Delgado

Rwanda Army Chief Of Staff Visists Mozambique

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Rwanda Defence Force Army Chief of Staff (ACOS), Lt Gen Mubarakh Muganga is on a 4-day visit to Rwandan Forces deployed in Cabo Delgado, Mozambique.

Upon arrival at Mocimboa da Praia yesterday, the ACOS was welcomed by the Joint Force Commander, Maj Gen Innocent Kabandana who briefed him about the progress of military operations against terror groups in Cabo Delgado.

Lt Gen Muganga met Rwandan troops and commended them for the good work done since their arrival in Mozambique.

He further conveyed a message of appreciation from the RDF Commander-in-Chief, President Paul Kagame, for the security achievements gained since the Force’s arrival in Cabo Delgado.

The ACOS urged the Forces to keep the momentum and continue to be good ambassadors of Rwanda.

Rwandan troops in collaboration with Mozambican Forces fought and dislodged the terror groups from several towns including their main bases in MOCIMBOA DA PRAIA and other localities that include among others AWASSE, PALMA, QUIONGA, CHINDA, MBAU, MAPALANGANHA, TETE, NJAMA, QUELIMANE and most recently SIRI I and SIRI II considered to be their strongholds.

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East-Africa

Schools in Burundi Reopen With Disregard For Covid-19

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Schools in Burundi reopened early this week bringing an end to more than two months of vacation.

Egide Harerimana, a journalist attached to Iwacu, a private media critical of the Gitega based government, has taken a quick observation of the reopening of the schools.

According to Harerimana, while the start of the school year is happening in the midst of the covid-19 pandemic, the barrier measures are not respected in some schools in the town hall of Bujumbura.

For good reason, insufficient desk benches and the high number of pupils and schoolchildren.

It is 10 a.m. at the Kamenge III primary school north of the city of Bujumbura. Classes haven’t started yet. The students play in the yard. A reunion after two months of long vacation.

Some even go so far as to kiss. Others look at their names on the bulletin board lists. No one cares about covid-19.

The washing kits are there but there is no soap, physical distancing is almost non-existent, the wearing of masks as well. There are risks of contamination.

“The situation is worrying. At a time when we are talking about an upsurge in positive cases, no measures have been taken to protect our children “, deplores a parent who met on the spot.

He calls on the school administration and the government to take all possible measures to protect students from covid-19.

The school administration says it reminded students to strictly observe barrier measures to prevent covid-19.

However, she does not deny a relaxation in the application of barrier gestures.

“It’s difficult to respect physical distancing with all these children,” says Hildegarde Banyankindagiye, headmistress of the primary school (ECOFO) Kamenge III.

She evokes a problem of lack of desk benches: “Three students share a desk bench. Normally, it should be at most two students on a bench to respect the physical distance but it is impossible “.

Time check, 11 a.m. at the Buyenzi municipal high school in Mukaza commune. A few students are in the classroom and others are entering. No one wears a mask.

In classrooms, two or three of them sit on small desks. Difficult to keep a distance between two students. There are no wash kits. Even on the two taps installed, the students wash their hands without soap.

“I wash my hands before I go to class. But in the classroom the situation is dangerous. We’re too tight, without a mask. There are risks of contamination, ”laments a 8th grade student at the same school.

According to Olive Habonimana, director of the municipal high school Buyenzi, it is difficult to control the pupils with respect to the barrier measures.

“We try to sensitize them but sometimes they forget the instructions, kiss or even shake hands,” She explains that wearing a mask is not mandatory.

The situation was the same at the Rohero Municipal High School. On this day of the start of the school year, the activities had not yet started. The pupils formed small groups in class to discuss, share how they spent their holidays.

Observation; they do not wear a mask and do not respect physical distancing. Yet, they came from different parts of the city, where covid-19 is reported.

“It’s difficult to prevent possible contamination when the students are external. We reminded them to wear masks on buses and to wash their hands when they arrive at school, ”said Gertrude Simbananiye, principal of Rohero Municipal High School.

She explains that her school has a high number of students, which is why it is impossible to maintain physical distancing in the classroom.

“Some classes have more than 80 students. So three students must share a desk bench, ”regrets the principal, adding that even classrooms are narrow and cannot contain many desk benches.

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East-Africa

President Ndayishimiye Launches Population Census in Burundi

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The excersise to count every Burundian in the much isolated East African country was officially flagged off by President Evariste Ndayishimiye on Friday.

President Ndayishimiye launched activities of the general census of the population, habitat, agriculture and breeding scheduled for 2022.

He urged his compatriots , each as far as he is concerned to invest in the success of this census so that decision-makers can know the real life situation of Burundian citizens.

Ndayishimiye indicated that the general census under preparation will provide objective figures which will help to know the personnel to be aligned on the fight against poverty.

According to him, the next general census will provide the opportunity to assess what has happened since the last census in 2008 and the economic situation of Burundi.

On this occasion, the President specified that the results of this census will serve as a basis for the implementation of public policies adapted to the real needs of the population.

He added that the general census of 2022 will make it possible to know the number of the population by age groups, and especially the number of young people, which will facilitate the State to take strategies to prepare for a better future.

Ndayishimiye says this census will also provide a good opportunity for the State to make the population understand that it is necessary to give birth to children that we can bear.

It was also an opportunity for the Head of State to call on the entire Burundian population to prepare to respond massively to this census, inviting all the administrators and leaders to sensitize the population on the importance of being registered.

“We have integrated the basic modules of agriculture and livestock in the general census population and housing and data collection will be done using new information and communication technologies,” he said.

On behalf of technical and financial partners friends of Burundi, the representative of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) appealed to the Government of Burundi to complete the process of setting up the Central Census Bureau, the central technical body of execution and condition sine qua non for the optimal realization and the success of this census.

Because of the importance of the 4th general census of Burundi, the representative of UNFPA in Burundi called on politicians, administrators, religious men and women, members of civil society and the private sector to call for the mobilization and support from all.

He reaffirmed the readiness of UNFPA and the United Nations system to continue mobilizing global expertise in the field of censuses and additional resources to support the diligent completion of this important operation in accordance with international standards until dissemination and development.

It should be noted that this general census of the population, housing, agriculture and livestock in 2022 will last 21 days and that the cost is estimated at BIF 48,556,797,000 (U$24,458,583).

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