Pooled strength for new heights
MA XUEJING/CHINA DAILY
The recently concluded FOCAC meeting in Dakar has given a new boost to joint efforts to build a community with a shared future
The eighth ministerial meeting of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation was held in Senegal on Nov 29 and 30. Chinese President Xi Jinping delivered a keynote speech via video link in which he unveiled nine projects and outlined a new road map for China-Africa cooperation at the opening ceremony.
Although the COVID-19 pandemic has disturbed China-Africa cooperation, it has never shaken the confidence of the two sides to enhance cooperation. On the contrary, their brotherhood and friendship have been reaffirmed during the battle against the pandemic and their shared will to jointly overcome difficulties and seek common development has been strengthened.
The vision of a China-Africa community with a shared future, proposed by President Xi during his first visit to the African continent in March 2013, follows the principles of sincerity, real results, amity and good faith. With similar historical experiences, common development tasks and shared strategic interests binding them together, China and Africa have always shared a common future.
The vision of building a China-Africa community with a shared future has been widely endorsed by African countries and has been developed and enriched. In December 2015, at the FOCAC Johannesburg Summit, the two sides decided to build a China-Africa comprehensive strategic and cooperative partnership in which the two sides agreed to promote win-win economic cooperation, mutually enriching cultural exchanges, mutual assistance in security and solidarity and coordination in international affairs.
The success of the FOCAC Beijing Summit in 2018 pushed China-Africa cooperation to a new and unprecedented high. President Xi said: "We share a common stake. China will work with Africa to achieve our shared goal of building a closer China-Africa community with a shared future and turn it into a pacesetter for building such a community for mankind." His concise speech summed up the distinctive features of China-Africa friendship and cooperation with mutual benefits, bringing the China-Africa community with a shared future to a new stage.
China and Africa are committed to common development and prosperity.
The deepening political dialogues at high levels have enhanced coordination on major international and regional issues. President Xi has visited the continent four times, promoting the development of China-Africa relations through head-of-state diplomacy. Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, leaders of the two sides have maintained exchanges and communication via video and telephone talks. Those have strengthened the foundation for mutual trust and underpinned bilateral cooperation across the board.
China seeks to deliver real outcomes in conducting cooperation with mutual benefits. It has grown to be Africa's largest trading partner for 12 consecutive years. By the end of 2020, over 3,800 Chinese enterprises were operating in the continent with direct investments of $47.4 billion. This has helped African countries advance their industrialization, create jobs and improve people's livelihoods. From January to July 2021, the trade volume between the two sides reached $139.1 billion, up 40.5 percent year-on-year. The direct investment, $2.96 billion, exceeded the same period in 2019.
From the perspective of people's welfare, the China-Africa community with a shared future seeks to deliver happiness for all. The two sides take improving people's livelihoods as their fundamental purpose and the outcome of all their work. After the novel coronavirus hit Africa, China sent medical teams to 15 African countries, worked with 43 hospitals in 38 countries and provided vaccines to over 50 countries, playing a positive role in protecting African people's health.
In pursuing cultural prosperity, China and Africa will work to strengthen the bond between their peoples and increase activities in terms of culture, art, education, sports and think tanks. As of December 2020, 346 such implementation plans had been inked and carried out. Thirty African media outlets have joined the Belt and Road News Alliance, and 42 African countries have participated in the Belt and Road Media Community Summit Forum. More than 80 think tanks and academic research institutions have participated in the China-Africa Joint Research and Exchange Plan. In April 2019, the China-Africa Institute was established in Beijing. Increasing understanding among the Chinese and African peoples can boost mutual learning between civilizations.
In seeking common security, China is ready to play a constructive role, and support African countries in strengthening their independent capacity for safeguarding peace and stability. The Chinese people are peace-loving, and the Chinese government has actively participated in peace and security affairs in Africa. More than 80 percent of Chinese peacekeepers have been deployed in Africa since China first took part in the United Nations' peacekeeping operations in 1990. Serving in 17 UN peacekeeping missions, their number has exceeded 30,000. More than 1,800 peacekeepers are currently performing tasks in Mali, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Abyei, the area between Sudan and South Sudan, South Sudan and Western Sahara. China supports the UN in playing an important role in maintaining peace and stability in Africa.
The China-Africa community with a shared future is also promoting harmony between man and nature. The two sides advocate green, low-carbon and sustainable development. The two sides can accelerate exchanges and cooperation on climate change, clean energy, preventing and controlling desertification and soil erosion, wildlife protection and other ecological and environmental issues.
At the opening ceremony of the 2018 FOCAC Beijing Summit, President Xi said, "China, the world's largest developing country, and Africa, the continent with the largest number of developing countries, have long formed a community with a shared future." The China-Africa community with a shared future has grown to be a model for China to promote a community with a shared future for mankind in the new era. Looking ahead, the eighth FOCAC ministerial meeting will become another vivid example of how the Chinese and African people jointly build a deepening community with a shared future in the new era.
The author is an associate researcher at the China-Africa Institute. The author contributed this article to China Watch, a think tank powered by China Daily. The views do not necessarily reflect those of China Daily.
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