The Eighth Ministerial Conference of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation was held on November 29 and 30 in Dakar, Senegal. When delivering a keynote speech via video link at the opening ceremony of the conference, President Xi Jinping put forward four proposals to build a China-Africa community with a shared future in the new era and pledged to work closely with African countries to implement nine programs on advancing China-Africa cooperation, mapping out the blueprint for China-Africa cooperation in the upcoming three years.
Since its launch in 2000, FOCAC has become a booster of China-Africa friendship, pushing China-Africa relations and cooperation into the fast lane of all-around, multilayer and high-quality development. Guided by President Xi and African state leaders, China-Africa relations in the new era have demonstrated the following features.
To start with, China-Africa mutual political trust has continued to expand with sincerity and amity as the cornerstone. In the fight for national independence as well as in pursuing national development, China and African countries have always stood together and supported one another, with sincerity and amity as the most important factors keeping the everlasting vitality of the China-Africa traditional friendship.
Second, China-Africa pragmatic cooperation has delivered great results with win-win cooperation as the principle. Adhering to the principles of development for the people, pragmatism and efficiency, China has never attached any political strings to its assistance to Africa; nor did the country pursue selfish political gains through investment and financing cooperation with Africa.
China has always pursued win-win results when developing relations with Africa. China has been the largest trading partner of Africa for 12 consecutive years. Its direct investment in Africa has grown steadily. Over 1,100 cooperation projects keep running, contributing to the economic recovery of Africa amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
In addition, upholding fairness and justice, China and Africa have jointly safeguarded the common interests of developing nations. The two sides have taken a clearcut stand on safeguarding multilateralism and developing countries’ common interests. In September, at the initiative of China and African countries, 78 nations made a statement at the Third Committee of the 76th session of the United Nations General Assembly, calling for the elimination of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance. It has been proved by innumerous facts that China and Africa have become important forces in safeguarding developing countries’ common interests and in promoting world peace and development. The closer that China-Africa ties get, the stronger such a force is.
Looking ahead, China-Africa relations will continue to break new ground in 2022, with new vitality and vigor amid their joint fight against the pandemic and joint pursuit of development, as well as their jointly rising to global challenges.
First, China and Africa will continue to stand side by side, supporting and assisting each other, and China will help Africa close “the immunization gap”. President Xi has reiterated on many occasions that we must put people and their lives first in the battle against COVID-19, and the medical and health program takes the primary position in the nine programs that Xi put forth at the eighth FOCAC ministerial conference. China will actively fulfill its commitment to make COVID-19 vaccines a global public good, implement Xi’s pledge to provide an additional 1 billion doses of vaccines to Africa, engage in joint vaccine production in Africa, and help countries, in accordance with their wishes, to realize localized vaccine production.
Second, China will focus on concrete actions and help Africa narrow the “development gap”. Under the new circumstances, China-Africa cooperation will attach greater significance to nurturing internal impetus for Africa’s growth. China will continue to assist Africa in improving local infrastructure conditions and advancing its industrialization process. China will encourage two-way trade and investment between China and Africa, help Africa increase intra-Africa trade, and continue to support the construction of the African Continental Free Trade Area. Moreover, China will further expand and optimize financing channels in Africa, improve the network layout of Chinese financial institutions and financial services, and prioritize support for the development of African small and medium-sized enterprises.
Third, the two sides will maintain a green development strategy and the path of sustainable development. In the next three years, China will assist Africa in implementing 10 green development, environmental protection and climate action projects, support the construction of the “Great Green Wall” in Africa, and increase investment in Africa on low-emission projects such as renewable energy, energy-saving technologies, high-tech industries and green and low-carbon industries. Furthermore, China will stop financing coal-fired power projects abroad and help African countries optimize their energy mix, push for industrial structural upgrading and build smart cities with greater urban planning and waste management for green, low-carbon and high-quality development.
Finally, China and Africa will intensify international cooperation and coordination to jointly safeguard international fairness and justice. China and Africa will unswervingly uphold and carry forward peace, development, equity, justice, democracy and freedom, which are the common values of humanity. They will also firmly safeguard true multilateralism and the common interests of developing countries, and jointly promote the global governance system, pushing it in a fairer and more equitable direction.
Developing solidarity and cooperation with African countries has been the cornerstone of China’s foreign policy, regardless of volatile international situations, China’s development or change of China’s international status. Under the guidance of Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era and Xi Jinping Thought on Diplomacy, we will further boost friendly China-Africa relations and cooperation, make the building of a China-Africa community with a shared future an outstanding banner that leads the trend of the times, and create an even brighter future for China and Africa.