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China-Africa cooperation contributes to the Global Development Initiative and vice versa


The Global Development Initiative, proposed by Chinese President Xi Jinping at the general debate of the 76th session of the United Nations General Assembly held in September 2021, has been well-received by the international community. More than 100 countries have voiced support for the initiative, and 53 countries have joined the Group of Friends of the GDI.

China-Africa cooperation has been upgraded due to the GDI, which China proposed for global benefits. The initiative is a major public good that can promote the further strengthening of China-Africa cooperation. It can help build consensus on global development, promote tripartite or multi-party cooperation between China and countries or organizations in Africa, and enhance the international influence and appeal of China-Africa cooperation.

The initiative focuses on issues that need urgent solutions in Africa, such as poverty alleviation, and promotes practical measures to address them. The visions, achievements and experience of China-Africa cooperation have laid a solid foundation for implementation of the initiative and can inject strong impetus into it.

The proposal of the initiative can be partly attributed to valuable experience and great achievements gained in long-term cooperation between China and other developing countries, especially African countries. The initiative speaking for developing countries is aimed at enhancing the voice of developing countries in global development and governance. It also seeks to build a consensus on global development and pool global development resources, instead of exclusiveness, monopolizing resources and zero-sum games. China-Africa friendship is based on mutual benefits, which should be the driver of global development cooperation.

The achievements of China-Africa cooperation have laid a solid foundation for implementation of the initiative. After decades of hard work, China-Africa cooperation has benefited Africa, improved the economic and social development of African countries, and brought tangible benefits to the peoples of both sides. From 2000 to 2020, China provided assistance in building more than 13,000 kilometers of roads and railways, over 80 large-scale power facilities, more than 130 medical facilities, 45 gymnasiums and more than 170 schools, and trained a total of 160,000 professionals in various fields in Africa. A number of new landmarks in Africa, including the African Union Convention Center, are built through China-Africa cooperation. In the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, China has supported African countries by reducing their debt burden, contributing the largest share among the G20 members in term of fulfilling an initiative that calls for suspending or postponing the debt repayments of the poorest countries.

China-Africa cooperation allows Africa to enjoy benefits of the GDI. China will implement 10 digital economy projects for Africa and support the building of digital infrastructure in Africa. China's investment in the digital economy in Africa allows the continent to prioritize the development of digital economy within the GDI framework. China's large-scale debt relief to Africa has also eased the pressure on least-developed African countries, improved the macroeconomic environment in Africa, and made it possible for them to promote the GDI.

The practices of China-Africa cooperation provide references for implementation of the initiative. President Xi proposed at the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation held in Dakar in 2021 that China and Africa jointly implement nine projects in the next three years, namely healthcare, poverty reduction to benefit farmers, trade promotion, investment, digital innovation, green development, capacity building, people-to-people exchanges, and peace and security. Since the forum, China has steadily promoted implementation of the programs, and selected key programs in various fields in line with the demands of African countries. It has completed more than 30 aid projects, and helped African countries strengthen their pandemic response, launching key projects such as the Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Levy Mwanawasa General Hospital in Zambia.

To promote implementation of the initiative, extensive consultations are carried out to perceive top concerns and meet the actual needs of countries, especially the difficulties faced by the least-developed countries, developing island countries and inland developing countries. The Group of Friends of the GDI has been launched, marking a step toward implementation of the initiative. The initiative should be linked to multilateral institutions such as the United Nations and the FOCAC to promote the implementation of the UN Sustainable Development Goals, optimize the allocation of domestic resources and forces and advance stable and long-term development.

The GDI is action-oriented and prioritizes development, centers on people, and values inclusiveness, innovation, and harmonious coexistence between man and nature. The major fields of cooperation include poverty alleviation, food security, epidemic control and vaccines, financing for development, climate change and green development, industrialization, digital economy and connectivity cooperation. It is aimed for leaving no country or person behind.

The author is an assistant researcher at the China Institute of International Studies. 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.

Contact the editor at editor@chinawatch.cn.