C.A.R. president says initiatives unveiled at FOCAC will help Africa develop

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The 2018 Beijing Summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) was a “great success,” and the eight major initiatives unveiled at the summit will help Africa develop, Central African Republic (CAR) President Faustin-Archange Touadera told Xinhua.

Central African Republic (CAR) President Faustin-Archange Touadera

The summit “was a real success overall and also bilaterally for the CAR,” said Touadera. “We also appreciate the eight initiatives proposed by the Chinese leader. It is one of the most important commitments and decisions of the summit … which will help African countries to develop.”

The former math researcher-elected-president still teaches at Bangui University every week for lack of competent teachers in the CAR. Of the eight major initiatives, which include industrial promotion, infrastructure connectivity, trade facilitation and green development, Touadera said he was “absolutely” interested in the capacity building initiative.

“To develop a country, we start with the training of its cadres. By doing so, China helps us to improve the level of our cadres, to train them to be very useful to their country,” said Touadera. “This initiative is to be hailed by all our young people.”

According to statistics from the United Nations, after years of instability, nearly 2.5 million people, representing more than half of the CAR’s population, need humanitarian assistance. As a result, Chinese experts will soon be coming to the CAR to engage in agricultural and security cooperation as part of the eight major initiatives.

Researchers at China’s Fujian Agriculture and Forestry University (FAFU) will help local farmers in mushroom cultivation using advanced Chinese know-how that has already benefited other African countries such as Rwanda.

The simple technology transfer from China will improve local farmers’ living conditions and enhance their nutritional quality, said Touadera, referring to the industrial promotion initiative where China will support Africa in achieving general food security.

Touadera, who has been advocating national reconciliation since taking office, said cooperation in police training with experts from China’s Fujian Police College is part of the peace and security initiative.

“We are looking for stability, and the search for stability requires the training of our internal security forces,” said Touadera, adding that in terms of security, “we expect to have exchanges with China and the support of China.”

“Of course, there is not only the security side, there is also the development side … several themes of cooperation with China will help address security issues in the CAR,” he said.

Asked about the fear of some observers of the over-indebtedness of African countries to China, Touadera said, “Africa needs means for its development.”

“Africa needs capital for its development. Without funding, it will be difficult for countries like the CAR that have a lot of difficulties,” he said, describing China’s financial support as “a very good initiative that we salute.”

China-Africa cooperation is “a frank, win-win, and really very fraternal partnership” that is voluntary and based on the development of the two peoples, said Touadera, mentioning China’s “five-nos” approach to African affairs.

During the Beijing summit, China announced that it follows a “five-nos” approach in its relations with Africa: no interference in African countries’ pursuit of development paths that fit their national conditions; no interference in African countries’ internal affairs; no imposition of China’s will on African countries; no attachment of political strings to assistance to Africa; and no seeking of selfish political gains in investment and financing cooperation with Africa.

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