CAIRO, Nov. 11 (Xinhua) -- Chinese and African diplomats celebrated the 10th anniversary of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) here on Wednesday evening, hailing the fruitful results that the forum has achieved over the past 10 years.
Song Aiguo, Chinese new ambassador to Egypt, said at a reception hosted by the Chinese embassy that with the joint efforts over the past decade, the FOCAC system has grown more sophisticated and richer in contents and become a flag that guides the development of China-Africa relations in the new era.
The FOCAC, launched in Oct. 2000, is a platform for dialogue and pragmatic cooperation between China and Africa. The forum has held four ministerial meetings so far and a summit in Nov. 2006 in Beijing, when Chinese President Hu Jintao announced a package of proposals to provide assistance, increase investment to build a new type of strategic partnership with Africa.
The value of China-Africa trade grew from 10.6 billion U.S. dollars in 2000 to 91 billion dollars in 2009, which makes China the biggest trade partner of Africa, said Song, who arrived in Egypt late last month to replace his predecessor Wu Chunhua.
Chinese direct investment in Africa increased from 210 million dollars in 2000 to 1.44 billion dollars in 2009, according to Song. More than 2,000 Chinese enterprises have set up branches in the continent.
China has also attached more importance to its aid to African people in such fields as poverty alleviation, medical care and health, education and training, infrastructure and so on, the Chinese ambassador told the guests from Egypt and some other African countries.
China-Africa cooperation has "brought about tangible interests and benefits to the people of both sides" and "promoted sustainable development for both economies and societies", Song added.
The two sides have accomplished numerous successes and also confronted various challenges, said Ibrahim Hassan, a consultant to Egyptian foreign minister, at the reception.
The foundations of cooperation have strengthened and the volume of trade increased, said Hassan. Cooperation in investment, transport, education, fighting epidemic diseases and tackling environmental challenges have also expanded.
Hassan acclaimed the forum as a unique example of cooperation between the two sides, which features common interests and goals, equal rights and obligations and the values of peace, justice and equality.