Event: 4th African Ambassadors in China Retreat

The 4th African Ambassadors in China Retreat, jointly organized by Development Reimagined and the African Union Representative Office in China, took place on April 23-24, 2024, at DeYun Wedding Hall in Beijing, China. The retreat convened African Union representatives, African Ambassadors, diplomats, as well as thought leaders and participants from international organizations, to deliberate on progress in China-Africa cooperation and chart the course for future collaboration. This event featured a two-day discussion and a gala dinner. The discussion, conducted in a hybrid format, saw African ambassadors attending in person, while high-level keynote speakers participated remotely.

The retreat aimed to complement and enhance other official government-to-government events such as the Coordinators’ Meeting on the Implementation of the Follow-up Actions of the Eighth Ministerial Conference of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) , with the objectives to:

  • Provide space for African Ambassadors to discuss and evaluate the implementation of the outcomes of FOCAC 8 including the Dakar Action Plan.
  • Support more efficient and effective China-Africa development cooperation and 2063 Agenda goals and priorities in Africa – especially in poverty reduction and development going forward.
  • Articulate needs for support for the work of African Ambassadors and diplomats in China, with a concrete action items to take forward for the preparation of FOCAC 9 in 2024.
  • Contribute to a better appropriation of the African Union’s Agenda 2063 and the Program for the Development of Infrastructure in Africa which constitutes the matrix of action for the development of the African continent.

The retreat, held under Chatham House rules, provided a platform for 42 diplomats representing 29 embassies, including 20 ambassadors, to engage in substantive discussions and exchange insights on key thematic areas such as development finance, agricultural cooperation, climate change and green development, global governance, health, pharmaceutical production, and trade. In addition, representatives from UNICEF, UNAIDS, UNIDO, and the International Bamboo and Rattan Organization (INBAR) joined the retreat, further enriching the dialogue.

During the retreat, Cristina Isabel Lopes da Silva Monteiro Duarte, Under-Secretary-General and Special Adviser on Africa to the United Nations Secretary-General gave a keynote speech on the nexus between peace, security, and development, while Dr George Elombi, Vice President of Afreximbank, spoke on industrialization and investment tin Africa. To kick off a session on Increasing Concessional Finance for Africa, Hon. Malado Kaba, former Minister of Finance for Guinea and current Managing Director of Falémé Conseil, delivered a keynote speech highlighting strategies to secure more concessional financing from China. Moreover, Hon. Dr. Michel Sidibé, African Union Special Envoy for the African Medicines Agency (AMA), along with H.E. Rosemary Museminali, Director of External Partnerships and Multilateral Engagement at UNAIDS, addressed the critical importance of global health and local pharmaceutical production. Additionally, Elizabeth Sidiropoulos, Chief Executive of the South African Institute of International Affairs (SAIIA) delivered a keynote speeches on the potential for Africa-China alignment on global governance. Mr. Mohamed Ali, the Director of Trade in Goods and Competition at the AfCFTA Secretariat, discussed China’s support for the AfCFTA and African value-added exports.

Furthermore, the Gala Dinner kicked off with an opening address from H.E. Wu Peng, Director-General of the Department of African Affairs at China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. His speech highlighted China’s steadfast commitment to nurturing strong bonds with Africa. He advocated for initiatives led by Africans and demonstrated a readiness to engage with and understand Africa’s development needs and priorities by actively listening to African perspectives. Additionally, various Chinese stakeholders, including the China-Africa Development Fund, China-Africa Business Council, Chinese Academy of International Trade and Economic Cooperation (CAITEC), and the Center for International Knowledge on Development (CIKD), as well as NGOs like the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and Children’s Investment Fund Foundation, participated in the gala dinner. They engaged in discussions on various aspects of China-Africa cooperation informally with the ambassadors.

The 4th African Ambassadors in China Retreat underscored the importance of continued collaboration and partnership between China and Africa in addressing shared challenges and advancing sustainable development goals. By fostering dialogue, sharing best practices, and identifying areas for collaboration, the retreat set the stage for enhanced cooperation and mutual benefit between China and Africa.

If you have any questions or feedback about the retreat or other Africa-China work by Development Reimagined, please contact Ms. Jing CA, Programme Manager of Africa-China Cooperation at jingcai@developmentreimagined.com

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