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Sierra Leone’s Foreign and Finance Ministers have arrived in Beijing, the Peoples Republic of China, with two other senior officials, one from each ministry to attend this year’s Ministerial Conference on China-Africa Cooperation, being the 5th FOCAC Ministerial Conference. Both Ministers Joseph Bandabla Dauda from Foreign Affairs and Dr. Samura Kamara from Finance are accompanied by Umaru Dura, Director of Asia Division, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation and Abi Elizabeth Kamara from the Development Assistance Coordination Office, in the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development. (Photo: Foreign Minister, JB Dauda seen here with Ambassador Multi-Kamara )
This year’s Ministerial Conference is expected to adopt the Beijing Declaration of the 5th Ministerial Conference of FOCAC and FOCAC-Beijing Action Plan (2013-2014.) The former is expected to reflect the important consensus between China and African countries on China-Africa relations and major international regional issues and the later is expected to chart the course for China-Africa cooperation in various fields in the three years from 2013-2015.
With a theme ‘Building on past achievements and open up new prospects for the new type of China-Africa Strategic Partnership’, this year’s Ministerial Conference is also expected to review the implementation of the follow-up actions of the fourth Ministerial Conference. A report on this follow-up action plan will be done by the Chinese Foreign Minister, whilst the Commerce Minister of China will report on the implementation of the economy and trade measures of the 4th Ministerial Conference.
Also, representatives of the five sub-regions in Africa the AU Chair among others will give remarks on the reports by the Chinese side and give assessment of the follow-up actions.
The practice of FOCAC over the last nine years has proven to be a significant stage and it has continued to serve as dialogue machinery, often used to strengthen the cooperation between China and Africa and in protecting their common interests. It has practically served as the driving force in pushing the relationship between Chin and African countries.
This fifth Ministerial Conference of FOCAC is the first of such conference to be held in the second decade since its formation in 2000. Sino-Africa relations in line with the framework of FOCAC, is also expected to be reviewed.
The lynchpin of Sino-African relations is the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC), initiated at the Ministerial Conference in Beijing in 2000. The Forum, driven by a joint Ministerial Conference held every three years since 2000, aims at fostering solidarity and cooperation based on equality, consultation, consensus, friendship, partnership and mutual benefit (Chuka Enuka- Institute of International Studies)
The Foreign Minister of Sierra Leone is expected to also meet with his Chinese counterpart on a separate note. The Ministerial Conference is also attended by Sierra Leone’s Ambassador to China, Ambassador Abubakarr Multi-Kamara and the Head of Chancery, Paul A.S Minah.
Source (http://forum.eximbank.gov.cn/forum/channel/focac.shtml ) “In order to further strengthen the friendly cooperation between China and Africa under the new circumstances, work together to address the challenges of economic globalization and seek common development, the Chinese and African governments jointly proposed to hold the Ministerial Conference of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) in Beijing from 10 to 12 October 2000 and FOCAC was officially established.
FOCAC’s mission is to make equal-footed consultation, enhance understanding, expand consensus, strengthen friendship and promote cooperation. Up to now, FOCAC’s membership includes China and 50 African countries having diplomatic relations with China, as well as the African Union Commission. The African member countries include Algeria, Angola, Benin, Botswana, Burundi, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, Chad, the Republic of the Congo, Comoros, Cote d’Ivoire, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Djibouti, Egypt, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Gabon, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Kenya, Lesotho, Liberia, Libya, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Mauritania, Mauritius, Morocco, Mozambique, Namibia, Niger, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Somalia, South Africa, Sudan, Tanzania, Togo, Tunisia, Uganda, Zambia, Zimbabwe and the Republic of South Sudan.
According to the Procedures of the Follow-up Mechanism of FOCAC which took effect in 2002, the Ministerial Conference is held every three years and the Senior Officials Meeting and official preparatory meeting are held respectively one year and a few days before the Ministerial Conference. African diplomatic envoys to China hold at least two meetings a year with the Secretariat of the Chinese Follow-up Committee. The Ministerial Conferences and the Senior Officials Meetings are convened alternately in China and Africa within the framework of FOCAC. Moreover, the China-Africa Regular Political Dialogue Mechanism at Foreign Minister’s Level within the FOCAC framework was officially launched in September 2007. The Second, Third and Fourth Ministerial Conferences were held respectively in Addis Ababa, Beijing and Sharm el-sheikh in 2003, 2006 and 2009. The Fifth Ministerial Conference will be held in Beijing in July 2012.”
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