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Seychelles capital of Victoria represented at first forum on China-Africa local government cooperation

Seychelles capital of Victoria represented at first forum on China-Africa local government cooperation ( A Seychelles delegation representing the capital town of Victoria is participating in a special meeting, which began in Beijing yesterday aimed at creating development partnerships between Chinese and African cities.

This special meeting has been convened in the wake of the 5th Ministerial Meeting of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) that was held last month, and has brought together local government representatives from 40 Chinese and African capital cities, including Victoria represented by the Mayor of Victoria, Mrs. Jacqueline Moustache Belle, and the Seychelles Resident Ambassador to China, Mr. Philippe Le Gall.

Aimed at strengthening the China-Africa friendship, the Forum hopes to establish 220 pairs of friendship cities, doubling the present number of 111 pairs, including Victoria, already twinned with Meizhou and Haikou.

The meeting is also expected to adopt a declaration establishing a Board of Directors, a Secretariat, and an operational mechanism including a General Meeting of members convened once every two years, and meetings between Chinese and African Governors and Mayors being held on a regular basis, the first one in Dakar early December 2012.

The Chinese side has said they are willing to make contributions to the development of cities in Africa by providing support and help in city planning, infrastructure, municipal management, environmental protection, and public facilities.

In this context, a China Africa Local Government Exchange Fund will be set up with an initial funding of 10 million RMB to carry out charity projects, train African local government officials, provide scholarships to African students who come to study in China, and help Chinese and African industrial and commercial sectors seeking business opportunities.

The Forum was inaugurated by Chinese Vice Premier Li Keqiang, who declared that both China and Africa are facing imbalanced development in different regions and cooperation at the local level will boost the two economies and promote global prosperity. Vice Premier Li asked the two sides to attach greater importance to improving people's livelihood and protecting the environment, as well as to bolster exchanges in education, healthcare, and tourism, and also focus on cooperation in non-resource sectors like agriculture and manufacturing.

Mayor Moustache Belle was assisted by the Seychelles Embassy and Seychelles Tourism Board’s (STB) local office to prepare a major promotion of Victoria and Seychelles in Beijing mid-September, Victoria having been selected as one of the founding members of the World Tourism Cities Federation that will hold its first General Assembly on that occasion.

This event was co-organized by the Chinese People's Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries, the Chinese-African People's Friendship Association, and the Wenzhou Enterprises Chamber of Commerce in Beijing.

PHOTO: Mayor Moustache-Belle&Mr. Le Gall / Photo from Seychelles Ministry of Tourism&Culture


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