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|Members of Chinese and African media discuss FOCAC Beijing Summit outcomes and media cooperation|
|By Li Xiaoyu | NO.39 SEPTEMBER 27, 2018|
African media representatives attend the China-Africa Media Dialogue on September 10 in Beijing (JIAO FEI)
A group of almost 50 media representatives from 29 African countries and 10 of their counterparts from Chinese media came together on September 10 at the China-Africa Media Dialogue hosted by the State Council Information Office to consider the outcomes of the 2018 Beijing Summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC). The theme of the dialogue was Authenticity and sincerity, win-win cooperation—the role of the media in building a China-Africa community of shared future.
With the establishment of FOCAC in 2000, the relationship between China and Africa has gained renewed vitality in the new era. At the opening ceremony of the 2018 Beijing Summit, Chinese President Xi Jinping proposed building a China-Africa community with a shared future to assume joint responsibility, a community that pursues win-win cooperation, delivers happiness to all, enjoys cultural prosperity and common security, as well as promotes harmony between man and nature. Initiatives and agreements emanating from the FOCAC Beijing Summit provided a blueprint for China-Africa cooperation in the next three years and beyond.
Media cooperation plays a vital role in ensuring the authentic message of how this blueprint is rolled out and is understood by the public.
Analyzing FOCAC results
In the eyes of Mohammed Abdalla Adim Abdalla, business editor of Sudan Vision, FOCAC is an effective mechanism which plays a significant role in the history of China-Africa cooperation. He declared that now that the 18-year-old FOCAC has matured, it can truly commit itself to building a China-Africa community with a shared future.
China is the world's largest developing country, while Africa is the continent with the largest number of developing countries. With this in mind, Abdalla said cooperation between China and Africa can create a new stage of prosperity for the global economy and help resolve inequalities in issues like trade protectionism.
Ma Xiaoning, Deputy Director of the International Department of People's Daily, who has reported on two FOCAC summits in Beijing, said there was no comparison between this year's event and the previous one in 2006. "China-Africa relations are bursting with unprecedented vitality and showing infinite prospects. On the basis of traditional friendship, by jointly promoting the 10 major cooperation plans reached in 2015 and implementing eight major initiatives proposed by Xi this time, mutual interests will be further strengthened. The awareness of building a community with a shared future is not merely a consensus reached, but will definitely be realized," said Ma.
African media representatives also praised the highlights of the summit: eight major initiatives on industrial promotion, infrastructure connectivity, trade facilitation, green development, capacity building, health care, people-to-people exchanges and peace and security.
Mbonihankuye Vincent from Le Renouveau, a Burundian newspaper, believes that China-Africa cooperation has brought hope to the development of Africa.
The eight major initiatives, covering various aspects of development, fully meet the China-Africa cooperation expectations of the African people, said Vincent, who is also confident that more massive projects and plans will be implemented in Africa.
Ahmed Hazem Samir Sayed, a reporter from Al Gomhouria, an Egyptian newspaper, said that the eight major initiatives will cover the future development of more than 50 countries in Africa, and the $60 billion of financial support to Africa will help African countries achieve faster and far-reaching development.
The media participants also expressed their views on the theme of this year's FOCAC Beijing Summit—China and Africa: Toward an Even Stronger Community with a Shared Future through Win-Win Cooperation. Anthony, a reporter from the Ghana News Agency, spoke highly of the Chinese proposal of building the China-Africa community with a shared future, noting that China's shifting from exclusive development to building a shared future for mankind is a very positive move for global governance. "International relations should never be a zero-sum game, but should be mutually beneficial. At the same time, global peace and stability make us the guardians of each other's security," the Ghanaian reporter said.
In recent years, China-Africa media cooperation has achieved fruitful results. It has played an important role in promoting the development of a China-Africa comprehensive strategic partnership and building a community with a shared future, and has become an important bond for China-Africa friendship. The newly launched initiative on people-to-people exchange also mentioned the establishment of a China-Africa media cooperation network. At the same time, the summit encouraged further exchanges, mutual learning and cooperation in media and other fields to further consolidate the public support for China-Africa relations, which was enshrined in the Beijing Declaration—Toward an Even Stronger China-Africa Community with a Shared Future adopted at the summit. The media representatives believe that the declaration points out the direction of development for Chinese and African media at a senior level of cooperation.
Nimley Nicolas Dweh, editor of Liberia's NEWS newspaper is a big advocate of media participation in China-Africa cooperation. "Only with the help and participation of the media can Chinese and African people truly understand the purpose and content of FOCAC," Dweh said. He added that it is necessary to carry out more in-depth reports in fields such as medical care, education, technology, infrastructure and agriculture.
Those in-depth reports need to record the facts about China-Africa cooperation, said Joao Manuel Henriques from Televis?o Pública de Angola.
"We need to understand the demands of people at the grassroots level as all our work must ultimately focus on their welfare and interests. If they cannot get access to the reality of China-Africa cooperation, then we will lose support from the grassroots," said Henriques.
This sentiment was echoed by Zhang Ye, Director of the International Liaison Department of the State Council Information Office. He encouraged journalists to experience more and to accurately record the friendship between the Chinese and African peoples and use their own eyes to observe the real stories of people-to-people exchanges.
While telling the story of China-Africa cooperation, it is necessary to tell the story of building a community with a shared future, at the same time, to present more vivid stories of mutually beneficial cooperation between ordinary people, said Zhang.
For the purpose of strengthening mutual understanding and reporting on factual stories about China and Africa, Ma advised those present that in the future under the framework of the China-Africa media cooperation network, media personnel can work regularly with their counterparts. This will allow for understanding of each other's operational systems and deepen mutual understanding, which is also advantageous to writing more vivid first-hand reports and stories of each other's countries.
In recent years, the increase in two-way training programs between Chinese and African media organizations has been of mutual benefit. Kofi Ohene Benning, an official from Ghana's Ministry of Information who is attending a media training course in China, said that such cooperation allows journalists to spread information about FOCAC and other China-Africa cooperation mechanisms more efficiently and help African media cope with more challenges in fields such as capacity building, capital investment and technology.
Copyedited by Francisco Little
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