The Communist Party of China (CPC) will celebrate the 100th anniversary of its founding on July 1st, 2021. Over the past 100 years, CPC has made the most notable achievements such as an economic boom, poverty alleviation, advanced high technology like 5G networks, artificial intelligence and space exploration, and long-term social stability.
China’s successful fight against the pandemic of COVID-19 is even more impressive, due to the CPC’s people-centered approach which is a key factor in successfully controlling the pandemic.
China and Africa have jointly responded to the COVID-19 challenge through mutual assistance.
When COVID-19 struck, African countries gave China firm support at a tough time during its fight against the virus, a support China will never forget. Chinese President Xi Jinping is deeply concerned about the evolving COVID-19 situation in Africa. He called for holding the Extraordinary China-Africa Summit, which was held last June, and he respectively spoke with 11 African leaders over the phone, which is a true testament to the special bond between China and Africa who reach out to each other during trying times.
Enhancing unity and cooperation with Africa has always been high on China’s diplomatic agenda. At this year’s Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) meeting to be held in Africa, a new blueprint for the future development of China-Africa relations will be drawn up. At this new starting point, China would like to take the following four steps to open up a new horizon for China-Africa cooperation:
First, keeping pace with the times and make this year’s FOCAC meeting a success.
At the celebration of the 20th anniversary of FOCAC last November, both China and Africa committed to keep FOCAC a pacesetter of China-Africa cooperation and pursue China-Africa cooperation of even higher standard.
Today, over 85 percent of the eight major initiatives announced at the 2018 Beijing Summit have been implemented, 70 percent of the US$60 billion supporting funds have been disbursed or earmarked, and flagship projects constructed with China’s support have largely promoted Africa’s prosperity and development, and have created an enormous number of jobs for local people while also guaranteeing their access to basic services such as water, electricity, transport, and skill learning.
In the FOCAC spirit of extensive consultation, joint contribution and shared benefits, China would continue to act with Africa to overcome the impact of COVID-19 and, in keeping with the realities of China and Africa, ensure that the meeting delivers fruitful outcomes. China would further deepen Belt and Road cooperation with Africa and forge strong complementarity between our development strategies.
China would adopt sector-specific cooperation measures with Africa for priority areas such as health care, investment, trade, industrialization, agricultural security, climate change, peace and security, human resources and digital economy to deliver greater benefits to our peoples. China will work closely with Senegal, the African co-chair of FOCAC, draw on the vision of all African countries, and ensure the success of the FOCAC meeting.
Second, joining hands to beat COVID-19 as quickly as possible.
The Chinese government has provided multiple batches of emergency medical supplies and vaccine donations to African countries and sent medical groups to 15 African countries. Chinese hospitals have been paired up with 43 hospitals in 38 African countries, and China has trained more than 20,000 African health workers. The construction of the African CDC headquarters was started ahead of plan.
China will continue to provide assistance of vaccines and medical supplies to African countries in need, facilitate vaccine procurement by African countries from China, and advance cooperation on joint vaccine production. China unequivocally supports African countries’ call to waive vaccine intellectual property rights. China is committed to eliminating the vaccine divide, and will speed up the construction of the African CDC headquarters to enhance Africa’s overall pandemic response capacity.
Third, pursuing common development and steadily advance practical China-Africa cooperation.
Even with COVID-19, China has remained Africa’s largest trading partner for 12 consecutive years. Direct Chinese investment in Africa has been steady, reaching US$3 billion in 2020 alone.
Many Chinese engineers and technicians chose to stay at their posts in Africa despite the pandemic; and over 1,100 cooperation projects have maintained operation, providing strong support to economic reopening in Africa. Solid progress has been made in China-Africa cooperation under the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). Forty-six African countries and the AU Commission have signed cooperation agreements with China under this initiative.
In May 2020, the leadership of the Communist Party of China made a strategic decision to foster a new development pattern where domestic and foreign markets can boost each other, with the domestic market as the mainstay. China will follow the new development philosophy, foster a new development paradigm, and pursue high-quality development by staying committed to deepening reform and opening wider to the world.
Together with Africa, China would make full use of opportunities created by China’s new development paradigm and the launch of the AfCFTA to conduct more high-standard collaboration projects and improve people’s well-being. China supports Africa’s integration efforts, its industrialization process, and its pursuit of self-driven and sustainable development.
China encourages Chinese companies to increase investment in Africa and do more trade with it, particularly importing quality African products. China will release a report on its private sector investment in Africa in the second half of this year, and explore more possibilities to boost China-Africa cooperation.
Fourth, upholding equity and justice and strengthening coordination in international affairs.
China and Africa have stood up for justice and supported each other in a changing world. Unilateralism, protectionism and acts of bullying have undermined both international equity and justice and the common interests of developing countries. Both China and Africa have stayed true to multilateralism, and both are opposed to politicizing COVID-19, acts of racism and outside interference.
Together with Africa, China would safeguard the common interests of developing countries by jointly safeguarding the basic norms governing international relations underpinned by the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations, upholding the core role the United Nations plays in international affairs, resolutely rejecting attempts to create new bloc-confrontation, opposing power politics of all forms and manifestations, and practicing true multilateralism.
It is time for China and Africa to set sail on a new journey. Let us continue to work with a common purpose, strive to build a China-Africa community with a shared future and write a new chapter in China-Africa friendship and cooperation.