By Li Huiru
African youth delegates currently in China attending the Third China-Africa Youth Festival made their first stop in Sichuan province at the Tianfu New Area located in southeast Chengdu on June 24, 2018. The more than 100 young delegates come from 53 African countries Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) and the African Union Commission.
According to Hao Yongkuan, an official from the International Cooperation and Communication Department of China Soong Ching Ling Foundation and one of the event’s organizers, Tianfu New Area was chosen as the first stop because it is an essential node in both the Belt and Road Initiative and the Yangtze River Economic Zone. The New Area is a typical example of people-centered development, and is a typical model of the park city which fully implements the new development philosophy.
Tianfu New Area is a national-level new area officially approved by the State Council in October 2014. It serves as a highlight in China’s inland open economy. With a planned area of 25 square kilometers, its start-up area is devoted to information security, creative design, R&D, finance and other emerging industries.
Dembo Kambi, President of the National Youth Council of Gambia, said “We can see it is a very new area. It is well planned and has great potential for development, and we hope that there will be more areas of cooperation between China and African countries.”
Speaking at a welcome dinner that evening, Yang Xingping, vice governor of Sichuan Provincial People’s Government, said that in recent years, with the expansion of friendly Chinese-African cooperation and the opening of Sichuan to the outside world, exchanges with African countries have deepened.
Sichuan has established friendly ties with 18 provinces and cities in 11 African countries, and Sichuan and Africa have already achieved productive economic and trade cooperation. In 2017, the total trade between Sichuan and Africa reached 8.77 billion yuan, up 27.2 percent year on year and accounting for 1.9 percent of the total foreign trade of Sichuan province.
In the coming three days in Sichuan, the youth delegates will visit the Dujiangyan Base of China’s Conservation and Research Center for the Giant Panda, as well as the Dujiangyan Irrigation System. They will also visit universities and meet with students.
The festival, themed “Connecting the Dreams of Youth and Creating a New Era for China-Africa Relationship,” is being jointly organized by the Foreign Ministry, China Soong Ching Ling Foundation and the Sichuan Provincial Government.
The second China-African Youth Festival took place in South Africa last year, attended by some 300 delegates from China and 53 African countries. The inaugural festival was held in China in 2016