Amid rising global trade protectionism, the 2018 Beijing Summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) shows China’s determination to promote fair international trade, which will significantly benefit African countries, said Julius Maada Bio, President of Sierra Leone.
“The rising protectionism should worry us all, as it distorts the markets and results in trade wars, but the successful opening of the FOCAC summit shows China’s multilateral diplomacy regarding Africa, providing more cooperation opportunities for both sides,” Bio told People’s Daily Online.
Bio’s remarks were made at the FOCAC, an important summit held on Sept.3-4, which aims to build a closer China-Africa community with a shared future, as well as further dovetailing China’s Belt and Road Initiative with African development.
“China has been providing support to Africa over the past decades, focusing mainly on areas including infrastructure, agriculture, healthcare and human development. The FOCAC summit will surely give us an opportunity to develop a more strategic and cooperative partnership with China,” Bio noted.
According to Bio, fostering friendly bilateral relations for 47 years, China and Sierra Leone are now heading into a golden era for more diversified cooperation, with a focus on industrialization, agriculture modernization, innovation and technology, investment and human development.
China is now Sierra Leone’s top export destination, while trade between the two nations has witnessed continuous growth since 2002.
In addition to trade, Bio also expressed his gratitude towards China’s aid during the country’s Ebola outbreak and in the aftermath of the recent mudslide, adding that he and his country will support President Xi Jinping’s vision of China-African relations as “a community of common destiny.”
“China provided both personnel and financial assistance when Ebola and the mudslide hit our country. Needless to say, China has always been a great friend in times of need, and as African leaders, we also have the responsibility to support the vision of a community of common destiny,” said Bio.