AFRICA’S development is an integral part of the world development, and to support Africa’s development is a shared responsibility of the international community.
Currently, the COVID-19 pandemic is still wreaking havoc on the world, and its profound impact on Africa’s economy and society continues to manifest. As Africa is facing severe challenges, the world should work together to help Africa win the campaign against the COVID-19 at an early date, achieve post-pandemic economic recovery and accelerate its development and rejuvenation.
It is against this backdrop that China, as the rotating president of the United Nations Security Council, hosted an open debate entitled “Peace and Security in Africa: Addressing Root Causes of Conflict While Promoting Post-Pandemic Recovery in Africa” on 19 May.
The Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi put forward four proposals at the meeting, namely helping Africa reduce the gap in COVID response, tackle the peace deficit, narrow the development gap, and redress injustice in global governance.
On behalf of the Chinese Government, H.E. Wang Yi, together with African countries and the African Union (AU), jointly launched the Initiative on Partnership for Africa’s Development.
The Initiative on Partnership for Africa’s Development aims at garnering more support for Africa’s post-pandemic recovery and development. It calls on the international community to increase support to Africa in such areas as response to COVID-19 and other pandemics, post-COVID reconstruction, trade and investment, environmental protection, debt relief, agriculture, agro-industry, sustainable development, infrastructure, energy and transport, scientific and technical cooperation, digitalization and industrialization.
The Initiative calls for pooling of resources in those areas where Africa’s urgent needs lie with a view to providing greater impetus to Africa’s independent and sustainable development.
To increase the accessibility of COVID-19 vaccines in Africa, the Initiative calls on relevant parties to offer more vaccines to developing countries, and help African Medicines Agency enhance its capacity in manufacturing vaccines by such means as waiving intellectual property protections for COVID-19 vaccines.
The Initiative on Partnership for Africa’s Development stresses the ownership of Africa in international development cooperation with its partners. Africa belongs to Africans, and the future and destiny of Africa should be in the hands of the African people.
The Initiative clearly states that “cooperation with Africa must be based on such principles as ... respecting the sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity of African countries, and non-interference in others’ internal affairs”, and that “Parties need to ... support African countries in exploring development paths suited to their own national conditions”.
The Initiative will set a good example and provide guidance for relevant parties to attach importance to African voices, respect African people’s will, support the efforts of African countries and regional organizations such as the AU to independently address African issues in an African way, and support African countries in participating in global governance and playing a bigger role in international affairs.
The Initiative on Partnership for Africa’s Development is characterized by openness and inclusiveness. Africa is a stage for international cooperation, not an arena for big-power competition. Africa’s development partners should strengthen coordination and give play to their respective advantages so as to form positive interactions rather than negative ones, such as exposing each other’s past misdeeds or counteracting one another’s efforts.
This Initiative adheres to multilateralism and is open to all countries and international organizations in the world. Participation in the Initiative is voluntary, and the purpose of the Initiative is to strengthen coordination of various mechanisms of international cooperation with Africa, jointly create a cooperation environment that is in the interests of all relevant parties and conducive to Africa’s development, and make greater contributions to the prosperity and stability in Africa.
As Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi said at the open debate, China never steps away from anything as long as it is good for African countries, and China never hesitates to undertake anything as long as it is good for the African people.
For the next step, China will enhance communication and coordination with African countries including Tanzania, and attract more countries and international organizations to join the Initiative under the principle of “African ownership, equality and openness”.
China will take the new meeting of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) to be held in Dakar, Senegal later this year as an opportunity to take the lead in putting the guiding principles of the Initiative into practice so as to make greater contributions to Africa’s post-pandemic recovery and development.
● (The writer, H.E. Wang Ke, is Ambassador of China to Tanzania.)