Written by Joanna Hughes

At the 2018 Beijing Summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) held earlier this month, China reiterated its ongoing commitment to supporting higher education and vocational training for development in Africa. Here’s a closer look at key takeaways from China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ Action Plan.

A Pivotal Partnership

In addition to being Africa’s most vital economic partner, China is also honoring its promise to continue co-operation across all sectors, including political, cultural, and social development.  

On the education front, China will establish a “tailor-made program” to train 1,000 “high-caliber” Africans, as well as provide 50,000 government scholarships and 50,000 training opportunities for seminars and workshops aimed at training more professionals across a variety of disciplines for the continent.

Both countries also reaffirmed their commitment to the continued implementation of the "20+20 Cooperation Plan for Chinese and African Institutions of Higher Education,” which prioritizes building additional platforms for exchange and cooperation.

Language, Medicine and More

China also expressed its ongoing support for existing programs designed to promote the inclusion of Chinese language in the national curricula of African countries. In addition to sending more teachers and donating more textbooks and teaching materials, China will continue to provide more Confucius Institutes scholarships targeted at training more local Chinese language teachers.

The healthcare sector is another area of exchange moving forward. The Action Plan suggests, “The two sides will support traditional Chinese medicine and African herbal medicine co-operation, strengthen high-level exchanges, and encourage traditional Chinese medicine and African herbal medicine institutions to set up traditional Chinese medicine and African herbal medicine centers in Africa and carry out medical, education, research and industrial cooperation.”

In recent years, China has seen a surge in its African student numbers. In 2014, it surpassed both the US and UK in terms of African students, and is second only to France as the most popular destination for African students studying abroad, based on UNESCO figures reported by QZ.com.

In addition to growing in popularity with African students, China is also increasingly popular with Asian international students, too


Joanna worked in higher education administration for many years at a leading research institution before becoming a full-time freelance writer. She lives in the beautiful White Mountains region of New Hampshire with her family.
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