An obstetrician from Kaohsiung Medical University Chung-Ho Memorial Hospital, right, demonstrates a delivery in Somaliland in an undated photograph.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Wednesday said that the Africa Project has brought close to 70 percent growth in total trade volume between Taiwan and Africa, denying media reports that the project was poorly implemented.
The project was launched by President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) after her first visit as president to the Kingdom of Eswatini in 2018.
On her second trip to the nation’s African diplomatic ally, Tsai told overseas Taiwanese in Eswatini on Tuesday that the project would have to be amended based on the new insights she obtained during the current visit.
RW News reported on Wednesday that the Legislative Yuan questioned the implementation of the project and froze NT$7 million (US$218,784) of its budget in March.
Budget freezes are a normal practice of the Legislative Yuan during budget reviews, the ministry said in a press release on the same day.
After explaining in detail the implementation of the project to the legislature, budgets related to the project have been made available, the ministry said.
Under the project, the National Security Council coordinated government agencies to promote cooperation and exchanges between Taiwan and African nations, it said.
Taiwan shares its experiences in fields such as economy and trade, healthcare, agriculture, culture, education, science and technology, and humanitarian aid, it said.
The project helped build closer ties between Taiwan and African nations, and it also helped Taiwanese businesses extend their reach in African markets, it said.
Concrete outcomes have been achieved through the project, including launching the Taiwan Representative Office in Somaliland and reopening the Taipei Representative Office in Ivory Coast, it said.
The governments and non-governmental organizations of Taiwan and African countries have signed 62 agreements or memorandums related to trade and economy in the past five years, the ministry said.
Taiwan’s offices in Africa and the Taiwan External Trade Development Council have held more than 1,000 business matchmaking activities, it added.
The total trade volume between Taiwan and African nations has increased from US$4.65 billion in 2018 to US$7.81 billion last year. a growth rate of nearly 70 percent, it said.
The project also helped expand Taiwan’s network through efforts such as establishing the Formosa Club in Africa and seeking support from African politicians and opinion leaders, it said.
The ministry said that to continue to deepen and expand relations with African countries, it would strive to strengthen communication with legislators to gain their support and also conduct a rolling review of its resource allocation.