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Nation, AU pact to boost BRI in Africa

Updated: Dec 18,2020 08:52    Ouyang Shijia

China and the African Union have signed an agreement to promote the Belt and Road Initiative in Africa. This marks China's latest move to boost bilateral economic cooperation, according to the country's top economic regulator.

The agreement defines the scope and content of key cooperation projects in fields like communication policies, facilities and connectivity, facilitating unfettered trade and smoothening access to funds, mapping out the timetable and roadmap, said Meng Wei, a spokeswoman for the National Development and Reform Commission. To date, China has signed 202 cooperation agreements with 138 countries and 31 international organizations.

"It is the first cooperation plan document signed by China and a regional international organization to jointly advance the building of the Belt and Road Initiative," Meng said during a news conference in Beijing.

According to Meng, the cooperation plan will effectively promote the joint building of the Belt and Road Initiative, which is in line with Africa's Agenda 2063, a blueprint for transforming Africa into a global powerhouse of the future.

"It will give play to complementary advantages of both parties, help deal with global challenges, promote high-quality development of Belt and Road cooperation, create new opportunities for global cooperation and inject new impetus for common development," Meng said.

To implement the plan, China will work with the African Union Commission to establish a coordination mechanism for Belt and Road cooperation, she said.

Liu Chunsheng, an associate professor of international trade at the Central University of Finance and Economics in Beijing, said the Belt and Road Initiative is a win-win solution for promoting common development and achieving common prosperity, and China's new move will help bolster the confidence of overseas investors.

"It is sending a clear signal that China will continue to support the multilateral trading system and globalization despite facing rising trade protectionism across the world. It shows that China will continue to enhance cooperation despite the COVID-19 outbreak."