On November 5, the First China-Africa BDS Cooperation Forum (hereinafter referred to as “the Forum”) was held in Grand View Building online and offline. Themed on “Innovation, Cooperation, Openness and Sharing”, the Forum was co-sponsored by the International Cooperation Center, China Satellite Navigation Office, China National Space Administration (CNSA), Secretariat of the Chinese Follow-up Committee of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation, Ministry of Digital Economy and Telecommunications of Senegal, and Department of Education, Science, Technology and Innovation of the African Union Commission.
Guests delivered remarks at the opening ceremony, including Mr. He Yubin, Chairman of China Satellite Navigation System Committee, Mr. Wu Jianghao, Assistant Minister of Foreign Affairs of China, Mr. Xu Hongliang, Secretary General of China National Space Administration, Mr. Yakhouba Diatara, Minister of Digital Economy and Telecommunications of Senegal, Dr. Mahama Ouedraogo, Secretary General of Ministry of Digital Economy and Telecommunications, Mr. Felix Moloua, Minister of Economic Planning and Cooperation of Central African Republic, Mr. Léon Juste Ibombo, Minister of Posts, Telecommunications and Digital Economy of the Republic of Congo, Mr. Mohamed Rahman Swaray, Minister of Information and Communications of Sierra Leone, and Mr. Chris Baryomunsi, Minister of Information and Communications Technology and National Guidance of Uganda.
Mr. He Yubin addressed that this is an era of innovation, and BDS is willing to work together out solutions for BDS applications based on China’s experience and nurture new BDS-related formats and industries in Africa; this is an era of openness, and BDS is willing to be integrated into the China-Africa Belt and Road Initiative for further cooperation in traditional fields such as transport, land surveying and agricultural production as well as emerging fields such as digital construction, digital city and intelligent mining to make its due contribution to poverty reduction, social progress and employment in Africa; this is an era of win-win, and BDS is willing to deliver cooperation ideas, blueprints and plans, determine priority areas and directions, and supervise the implementation of meeting results, so as to promote China-Africa cooperation in the new era and upgrade the China-Africa community of a shared future.
Mr. Wu Jianghao stressed that under the current situation, it is all the more necessary than ever for China and Africa to embrace the vision of living in a community with a shared future, strengthen solidarity and promote cooperation. The Forum will build an open and inclusive bridge for bilateral BDS cooperation, so that more African friends will feel and understand BDS. What’s more, it will allow relevant Chinese institutions and enterprises to increase understanding of the development potential of satellite navigation in Africa, promote more active exchanges and cooperation between the two sides, and turn BDS cooperation into a new engine for quality improvement and upgrading of China-Africa cooperation.
Mr. Xu Hongliang mentioned that CNSA has been partnering with African countries in the field of space, and amid challenges in the new era, it is necessary to further align space strategies for clear priority areas and directions of cooperation; to share space achievements for S&T advancement in Africa; and to strengthen personnel exchanges and training for developing emerging African spacefaring countries.
Mr. Yakhouba Diatara recognized the Forum as an important outcome of S&T cooperation between China and Africa under the framework of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC). Under the inevitable trend of high-tech and digital technology, China and Africa will strengthen cooperation in BDS, 5G and smart city.
According to Mr. Mahama Ouedraogo, BDS applications constitute a key force in the development of African Union. He looked forward to more extensive BDS applications in Africa through a mechanism based on further international exchanges and interactions amid close cooperation with China, in a bid to inject new vitality into the development of African Union members.
Key participants also include Mr. Yang Changfeng, Chief Architect of BDS Engineering, Mr. Deng Hongbing, Deputy General Manager of China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation Limited, Mr. Liu Zhuping, Deputy General Manager of China Aerospace Science and Industry Corporation Limited, Mr. Yan Zhe, Deputy General Manager of China North Industries Group Corporation Limited, Mr. Yang Jun, Deputy General Manager of China Electronics Technology Group Corporation Limited, and Mr. Hu Zhongmin, Chairman of China Great Wall Industry Corporation Limited.
The representative of China Satellite Navigation Office made a keynote report on BDS: Serving the World, Benefiting the Mankind, introducing BDS construction and development, application industries and international cooperation; Mr. Meshack Kinyua Ndiritu, Space Applications Training Officer at the African Union Commission, delivered a keynote report on Navigation, Positioning and Timing: Status and Opportunities; representatives from the Ministry of Commerce of China, AU Commission and eight African countries conducted thematic speech around joint BDS R&D, applications and establishment of a China-Africa cooperation mechanism. The Top 10 Application Scenarios of BDS in Africa was also released to present application cases and solutions of BDS in the fields of road transport vehicle management, railroad industry, precision agriculture, international search and rescue, land surveying, digital construction, intelligent mining, public safety, wildlife conservation, and precise space-time smart city in Africa.
Mr. Yang Changfeng, on behalf of both sides, read out The Vision for Promoting China - Africa Cooperation on BeiDou Navigation Satellite System, proposing that participants are willing to share BDS construction and development achievements in the concept of peacefully using global or regional satellite navigation systems and their augmentation systems, join hands to promote BDS to serve China-Africa economic and social development, technological progress and capacity building, promote the economic and social development of African countries, improve people’s welfare and living standards, and help the realization of the AU Agenda 2063 Vision and Action Plan.
The Forum attracted over 600 participants, such as governmental representatives from nearly 50 African nations including eight government ministers and eight ambassadors to China and related departments under African Union Commission, from African enterprises and colleges, from China BDS Commission, Cyberspace Administration of China, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, National Development and Reform Commission, Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, Ministry of Transport, Ministry of Commerce, Ministry of Education, China International Development Cooperation Agency, Chinese Academy of Sciences and China Export-Import Bank, and from universities, BDS enterprises and associations. The Forum was presided over by Mr. Ran Chengqi, Director of China Satellite Navigation Office.
The First China-Africa BDS Cooperation Forum is the third multilateral cooperation mechanism platform for BDS under the framework of FOCAC, following the China-Arab States Cooperation Forum and the China-Central Asia BDS Cooperation Forum. This high-level, large-scale and influential Forum has received strong support from China and positive responses from African countries and AU Commission. Based on the extensive consensus on BDS between two sides, the Forum yielded rich results. Its success is a milestone for BDS to enter Africa across the board and deepen China-Africa cooperation in BDS.
BDS scale application has embarked a marketized, industrialized and internationalized road. Upholding the principle that “BDS is developed by China, dedicated to the world, and aiming to be first class”, China will make BDS’s contribution to a closer China-Africa community of a shared future through further cooperation and integration in the African industrial system.