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Why does the Forum on China-Africa Local Government Cooperation choose to be held in Guangdong?
来源:羊城晚报 云上岭南 作者:李焕坤、谭铮 发表时间:2024-07-10 21:35

On July 9th, the 5th Forum on China-Africa Local Government Cooperation was held in Guangzhou, Guangdong. This marked the first time since its establishment in 2012 that the forum was hosted outside of Beijing. Why was Guangdong chosen, and what are the connections between Guangdong and Africa?

First, let's consider the background of the forum. The Forum on China-Africa Local Government Cooperation was initiated by the Chinese People's Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries in 2012. It convenes once every three years and is a significant mechanism under the framework of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation.

It was found that the previous four forums were all held in Beijing. The first forum themed "Promoting Local Cooperation and Enhancing Common Development" took place from August 27th to 28th, 2012. The second forum convened from November 10th to 11th, 2015, focusing on "Enhancing Local Capacity Building, Promoting China-Africa Industrial Cooperation, and Achieving Inclusive Development for Provinces and Cities." The third forum occurred on May 7th-8th, 2018, centered around "Poverty Alleviation and Sustainable Development." The fourth main forum, themed "Building a China-Africa Community with a Shared Future - Local Governments of China and Africa Work Together for Common Development" was held online on November 16th, 2021 in Beijing. 

This year, the Forum on China-Africa Local Government Cooperation departed from Beijing for the first time and chose Guangdong as its venue. This decision is closely linked to Guangdong's role as a pioneer, vanguard, and experimental zone in China's reform and opening-up policies.

As China's southern gateway, Guangdong has been a crucial window for international exchanges and openness for centuries. Its provincial capital, Guangzhou, holds the distinction of being the only port in China that has remained open to foreign trade for over two millennia.

Guangdong has consistently maintained a leading position in China's levels of openness to the outside world. In 2023, its foreign trade reached a historic high with a total import and export value of 8.3 trillion yuan, constituting one-fifth of the national total. This marked the 38th consecutive year that Guangdong led the country in terms of total trade volume.

Guangdong's openness to the outside world is not only reflected in its trade figures but also in its significant role as an international exchange platform. In recent years, Guangdong has hosted several major international conferences such as the Understanding China Conference, Imperial Springs International Forum, and the Global Mayors' Forum. These events have positioned Guangdong as a crucial platform for showcasing China's development achievements and promoting China's voice to the world.

From the perspective of cooperation with African countries, in recent years, Guangdong has actively engaged in frequent exchanges and cooperation with Africa, upholding the spirit of China-Africa-friendly cooperation.

In terms of trade, bilateral import and export trade between Guangdong and African countries has surged fifteen-fold over the past decade. In 2023, Guangdong's total import and export trade with Africa exceeded 270 billion yuan, marking a 3.9% increase and accounting for 13.7% of China-Africa trade.

In the field of healthcare, since sending its first medical support team abroad in 1971, Guangdong has consistently dispatched medical teams and expert groups to support the treatment of common diseases and healthcare system construction in numerous African countries. The Guangdong Artemisinin Anti-Malaria Team, through its extensive research and practical efforts in malaria prevention and treatment, has provided Africa with the Chinese solution of "elimination of malaria by source eradication".

In terms of cultural exchange, as of 2023, Guangdong has established sister city relationships with 12 cities across Africa, spanning eight different countries. Several universities in Guangdong have also collaborated with African countries to establish Confucius Institutes.

The exchange and cooperation between Guangdong and Africa serve as a vivid example of building a China-Africa community with a shared future. Through ongoing efforts from various parties, the construction of the China-Africa community with a shared future is deepening and becoming more substantial, continually benefiting the people of both regions.

As stated by former Permanent Representative of Senegal to the United Nations, Oumar Demba Ba, at the 5th Forum on China-Africa Local Government Cooperation, "Over the years, I have witnessed the friendly exchanges and increasingly closer relations between China and Africa. The Forum on China-Africa Cooperation has grown from 44 members when it was established in 2000 to 53 members today. This significant increase vividly reflects the vitality and broad prospects of China-Africa relations. I would like to point out that the cooperation between China and Africa is dynamic and has achieved substantial development."

Source :Yangcheng Evening News















文、图|记者 李焕坤 谭铮