Emmanuel Nnadozie, executive secretary of the African Capacity Building Foundation (ACBF), the African Union’s specialised agency for capacity development, on Monday highlighted the role of the China-proposed Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) and the Beijing FOCAC Summit in further strengthening Africa-China ties.

“We are extremely grateful to the Chinese government for the agreement during the last FOCAC Summit,” Nnadozie said in an interview on Monday, referring to an accord between Chinese and African leaders.

He particularly stressed the positive ties and future joint commitments in capacity development.

The interview was conducted on the sidelines of 32nd ordinary session of the AU assembly. The two-day summit started on Sunday.

Chinese President Xi Jinping sent a message on Sunday to “warmly congratulate the AU on the progress and sincerely wish that it will continue to unite and lead African countries towards new and greater achievements.”

Xi stressed that in September last year, the Beijing Summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) was a huge success, during which he joined hands with leaders of the African countries and the AU to draw a blueprint for the development of China-Africa relations.

China is willing to work with Africa to implement the FOCAC Beijing Summit outcomes, promoting the alignment of the joint construction of the Belt and Road with the implementation of the AU Agenda 2063, the UN 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda as well as other development strategies of African countries, Xi said.

Commenting on Xi’s congratulatory message, Nnadozie expressed his hope on further strengthening cooperation in the China-proposed Belt and Road Initiative as well as the agreements that were made at the FOCAC Beijing summit, under the AU platform.

“We (at the ACBF) have just completed a study on how Africa can benefit from the Belt and Road Initiative because it is highly anticipated here in Africa and China as well,” he said.

Nnadozie’s positive comment about AU-China ties was echoed by Moussa Faki Mahamat, chairperson of the AU Commission.

Faki told the opening session of the ongoing summit that China and the pan-African bloc AU have been enjoying unprecedentedly dynamic partnership in various areas.

“The remarkable success of FOCAC held in Beijing in September 2018 illustrates the unprecedented dynamism of our partnership,” Faki said.

“The opening of an AU office in Beijing will obviously strengthen this multifarious and fruitful partnership, including the strategic dialogue between the AU Commission and the People’s Republic of China,” he added.

In September 2018, the AU officially launched its representative Office in Beijing.