CAIRO, June 17 (Xinhua/GNA) — The International Forum of Belt
and Road Initiative (BRI) and New Practices of China-Africa
Cooperation kicked off Sunday in the Egyptian capital Cairo.
The two-day event is hosted by the Belt and Road African
Studies Alliance and Egypt’s Ain Shams University and is
organized by China’s Institute for African Studies of Guangdong
University of Foreign Studies and the Research Center for Belt
and Road Initiative of Ain Shams University.
Some 80 people attended the conference including government
officials, entrepreneurs, experts, scholars and researchers from
Nigeria, Kenya, China and Egypt.
During the conference, experts and scholars will discuss
China-Africa industrial promotion, the relation between Egypt’s
economy and China-Africa cooperation, China-Egypt cooperation
under the framework of BRI.
They will also tackle industrialization, vocational career
education development in African countries and new journey for
cooperation in Belt and Road construction.
Proposed by China in 2013, the BRI refers to the Silk Road
Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road, which aims
to build a trade and infrastructure network connecting Asia with
Europe, Africa and beyond along the ancient trade routes of the
Speaking at the opening ceremony, Han Bing, minister counselor
for economic affairs at the Chinese Embassy in Cairo, said the
key to the achievements of the BRI was to conform to the trend of
peace and development, adhere to the principle of achieving
shared growth through discussion and collaboration.
“Against the background of the current anti-globalization
trend and the rise of protectionism, the Belt and Road has issued
a strong voice against unilateralism and protectionism,” he
In the past six years, the cooperation under the BRI has been
fruitful. The total trade volume of goods between China and the
countries involved in the BRI has exceeded 5 trillion U.S.
dollars, according to him.
The Chinese diplomat noted that Egypt was a natural partner in
the construction of the BRI, pointing out that China-Egypt
economic and trade cooperation had been elevated to a new height
in recent years.
“The volume of bilateral trade and the quality of bilateral
trade have improved. In 2018, the total trade volume exceeded
13.8 billion U.S. dollars, a record high. Egypt’s exports to
China have grown substantially, and agricultural products such as
fresh oranges and grapes have continued to enter the Chinese
market,” Han added.
He highlighted that the financial cooperation between the two
countries has continued to advance, noting that the number of
Chinese tourists to Egypt had reached 400,000 in 2018, an
increase of more than 30 percent.
“Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi pointed out at the
Second Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation in April
this year that the goal of the initiative was consistent with
Egypt’s efforts to launch a series of large-scale projects with
high returns and diversified investment opportunities,” Han said.
As the African Union’s presiding country in 2019, Egypt has
played an important role in promoting China-Africa cooperation
within the framework of the initiative, he said.
“We believe that as African Free Trade Zone takes effect this
year, the prospects for China-Africa economic and trade
cooperation will be even broader,” He stressed.
Meanwhile, president of Ain Shams University, Abdel Wahab
Ezzat, said his university, together with other universities
engaged in Egyptian-Chinese and Afro-Sino cooperation, prepares
studies about bilateral relations and areas of cooperation
between the two countries.
“University is the home of knowledge and experiences. It is
true that trade, politics and business control countries, but we
need science to learn all these fields,” he said.
He added that his university’s Research Center for Belt and
Road Initiative conducts economic, commercial and technical
studies for projects and cooperation between Egypt and China.
“We may help implement our studies if we are asked to, but we
mainly focus on preparing researches for Belt and Road and other
mutual projects,” he pointed out.
Founded in October 2018, Belt and Road African Studies
Alliance is set up to implement the outcomes of Forum on China-
Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) held in Beijing in September 2018.
Gathering professional researchers and institutes for African
studies from all over the world, the alliance aims to serve as an
interdisciplinary and cross-border communication platform to
share resources, explore knowledge, disseminate technology,
enhance understanding and promote applications.
The alliance now has 34 members, including 16 from African
countries, 16 from China and two from Europe.