Think tank forum on BRI held in Zambia
Chinese and African scholars have gathered in Zambia's capital Lusaka, discussing development opportunities unleashed by the Belt and Road Initiative.
Chinese ambassador to Zambia Li Jie gives the keynote speech at the opening of the Africa-China Think Tank Forum held in Lusaka, Zambia on Thursday, May 23, 2019. [Photo: China Plus/Gao Junya]
The two day Africa-China Think Tank Forum is co-hosted by the Chinese embassy in Zambia as well as Policy Monitoring and Research Center, a Zambian think tank.
It runs under the theme of "Africa-China Economic Development Agenda-Opportunities for Belt and Road Initiative & FOCAC."
Speaking at the opening ceremony, Chinese ambassador Li Jie points out that the Belt and Road Initiative and Forum on China Africa Cooperation have become two major platforms for China-Africa cooperation.
He calls on both sides to deepen cooperation under the two frameworks.
"The BRI and FOCAC are not 'traps' but 'pies.' In China-Africa cooperation, China is willing to discuss ways to achieve mutual benefit and win-win results with African countries," he said.
Kenneth Kaunda attends the opening ceremony of the Africa-China Think Tank Forum held in Lusaka, Zambia on Thursday, May 23, 2019. [Photo: China Plus/Gao Junya]
Kenneth Kaunda, Zambia's first president and the honorary president of the Zambia-China Association, also attended the event.
The 95-year old speaks highly of the Tanzania-Zambia Railway constructed by China in the 1970s and urges African countries to further cooperation with China.
"Africa needs to broaden and deepen her engagement with China. As you leaders meet here in Lusaka, please remember that the Tanzania and Zambia Railway project is a great example of genuine cooperation between partners," he said.
Zambia's Minister of Finance gives some opening remarks at the opening of the Africa-China Think Tank Forum held in Lusaka, Zambia on Thursday, May 23, 2019. [Photo: China Plus/Gao Junya]
Zambia's Minister of Finance, who also chairs the Policy Monitoring and Research Center, says China and Africa have long formed a community with a shared future.
Margaret Mwanakatwe calls on African nations to link their own national development strategies with the BRI.
"It is very critical that Africa pursues a development path that fits into its national conditions anchored on the AU Agenda 2063. Further, we should also strategically align programs and infrastructure plans to complement the one Belt one Road Initiative; that is poised to also benefit the continent and enhance trade," she said.
Figures show China has been Africa's largest trading partner for nine years in a row. China's total import and export volume with Africa reached 204 billion US dollars in 2018.
A panel discussion of the Africa-China Think Tank Forum held in Lusaka, Zambia on Thursday, May 23, 2019. [Photo: China Plus/Gao Junya]