On November 19th -21st , working closely with the Department of International Relations and Cooperation(DIRCO), Human Sciences Research Council(HSRC) , Durban University of Technology (DUT) in South Africa, and China Institute of International Studies(CIIS), the Confucius Institute at Durban University of Technology (DUT-CI) successfully co-hosted "One Belt One Road (OBOR) And A Prosperous Conference " at Ritson Campus at DUT. Around 100 Delegates, including officials, experts and professors from the five partners, and representatives of high-profile from Kwazulu-Natal provincial government, the eThekwini Municipality, the Chinese Consulate General in Durban, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, China Institute of Contemporary International Relations, Africa Institute of South Africa and other well-known think-tanks institution, Peking University, University of South Africa, University of Limpopo, University of Utrecht, and South African and Chinese entrepreneurs as well, attended this high-level conference. By being actively engaged in heated discussions and robust ideas sharing on how to serve the Chinese “One Belt One Road” strategy to promote the bilateral political, economic and trade cooperation and cultural exchanges between China and African countries, the participants have vigorously explored new avenues for further and stronger ties between both sides to achieve mutual benefit.
The conference includes five parts: keynote speech, expert forum, cultural event, cocktail reception and interactive discussions. DIRCO Director General Ambassador J. Matjila, Deputy Director Ambassador A Sooklal, CIIS President Ambassador Su Ge, DUT Vice-Chancellor Professor Ahmed C Bawa, eThekwini Municipality Speaker Mr Logie Naidoo, HSRC President Professor N Bohler Muller, Chinese Consul-General Mr. Wang Jianzhou and other delegates all make important keynote addresses, acknowledging the traditional friendship between China and Africa from different sides, glorified fruitful results achieved by FOCAC(Forum of China and Africa Cooperation )established about ten years ago, appreciating the Chinese OBOR initiative from different viewpoints. The dignitaries share their understanding of the blueprint proposal, saying that it has got wide recognition from African countries.
The delegates propose specific ideas for South Africa’s participation in the OBOR collaboration, and look forward to the success of this great strategy. The opportunities and challenges to be brought forth by this great initiative will lead to the prosperity and development across whole Africa, and will further promote the political, economic, cultural and personnel exchanges between China and South Africa. It’s also generally agreed that the conference will be a warming-up for "China-Africa Cooperation Forum Summit” to be held in Johannesburg in December. All delegates present regard South Africa as an important economic entity in Africa, and Durban as Africa's busiest port and maritime gateway to the entire South Africa, which will play an important role in the OBOR strategic cooperation, through which South Africa’s great role in this concept will be maximized.
The expert forum consists of three parts: "Economy, Environment and Development", "Peace, Stability and Security" and "Cultural and Personnel Exchanges", concerning different aspects on the "One Belt One Road" and about the China-Africa cooperation. The experts have very dynamic discussions on 17 topics including infrastructure construction, financial cooperation, the special zone and the industrial park construction, industrialization, energy, agricultural science and technology development strategy, regional peace and stability, Africa terrorism, elite training and China's African diaspora issues. Participants from China, South Africa, Netherlands, Zimbabwe and other countries express their opinions during the 2-day symposium. During the informative presentations and heated discussions the delegates exchange with each other various understanding on the OBOR proposal. This form of academic idea exchange, according to the attendees, makes their voice heard in Africa about this initiative, deepens their understanding about OBOR and enhances their confidence in this grand blueprint. Moreover, the role, prospect, and challenges that South Africa and Africa will participate in the initiative has gradually become clear. China and South African experts are convinced that in the near future, the results of these studies and discussions will greatly promote the healthy development of "One Way One Road" in Africa, and indicate the direction for the development of China-Africa relations.
The conference has attracted attention from a couple of well-known media of China and South Africa. South African Broadcasting Corporation, Daily News, The Mercury and other local media reporters were also present for interviews and reports.
The conference is hosted under the circumstance of "Marine Silk Road" and "Silk Road Economic Belt" blueprint, constructed by President Xi Jinping in 2013; apart from these, "2015 China-Africa Cooperation Forum Summit" will also be held soon, so China-Africa collaborations in the twenty-first century is becoming increasingly significant. With an aim to deeply exploring the purpose, content, mechanism of China-Africa cooperation, the Conference discusses major issues in various areas like culture, security, environment and, and come up with policy advice for building up a more prosperous Africa under the framework of “One Belt One Road”.
This conference is the first time for DUT CI to cooperate with multiple important government departments and think-tanks in China and in South Africa as well, and it’s also one of the Institute’s important serial activities for celebrating "2015 · the Year of China in South Africa", aiming at promoting academic and cultural exchanges between both countries. It has not only built up the momentum for "China-Africa Cooperation Forum Summit" to be held in Johannesburg in December, but also rang down the curtain for DUT CI "2015 · the Year of China in South Africa" celebrations.