By He Yin
China-Africa relations have withstood the test of the vicissitudes of the international landscape, become firmer as time goes by, and always maintained strong vitality.
The sound development of the bilateral ties comes from the fact that the friendly relations and cooperation between China and Africa conform to historical trends; the defining feature of China-Africa relations are sincere friendship, mutual respect, equality and mutual benefit, as well as common development; and both sides can scale new heights and find new areas of converging interests and new growth points in bilateral cooperation to realize new leaps of the bilateral ties at every critical stage. This is quite revealing.
In the new era, Chinese President Xi Jinping proposed the principle of sincerity, real results, amity and good faith and the principle of pursuing the greater good and shared interests for developing China-Africa relations. He has also personally promoted the building of a closer China-Africa community with a shared future and been engaged in head-of-state diplomacy in developing bilateral relations with Africa, which has effectively accelerated the growth of China-Africa ties.
Given the mounting uncertainties and instabilities in the international landscape, China and Africa are joining hands to counter unilateralism and protectionism, and unswervingly safeguarding the international system with the United Nations at its the core and the international order based on international law.
As former Mozambican President Joaquim Chissano pointed out, Africa’s development goals are highly compatible with those of China, and that China-Africa cooperation can help improve global systems, strengthen global governance, and provide fair platforms for all countries seeking prosperity and development.
The usual year of 2020 witnessed how China and Africa voiced support for each other amid the COVID-19 pandemic and fought against the pandemic side by side. The two sides have set an example of international cooperation against the COVID-19 and lifted their bilateral relations to a new height.
Since the outbreak of the pandemic, more than 50 leaders of African countries expressed sympathy and support for China via phone calls or statements. As African was stricken by the virus, China was the first country to rush in with assistance. China sent expert teams to 15 African countries, started the construction of the new headquarters of the Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention ahead of schedule, and pledged that once the development and deployment of COVID-19 vaccine is completed in China, African countries would be among the first to benefit.
When chairing the Extraordinary China-Africa Summit on Solidarity against COVID-19 on June 17, Xi pointed the way forward for the joint fight against the COVID-19, pragmatic cooperation, as well as the development of bilateral ties between China and Africa.
China and Africa have worked together actively to implement the outcomes of the summit, benefiting Chinese and African people, as well as people in the rest of the world.
In-depth cooperation between the two sides has shown the solidarity and leadership the world needs to defeat the pandemic, said World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.
China and Africa have been a community with a shared future all along, and enhancing friendly ties and cooperation with Africa has been a consistent choice of China’s diplomacy.
Over the past 31 consecutive years, Chinese foreign minister has chosen Africa for the first overseas visit every year. The tradition has manifested the great importance the country attaches to Africa, the unbreakable friendship between the two sides, as well as China’s firm support for the development and revitalization of African countries.
Recently, China signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) on the establishment of the China-Nigeria Intergovernmental Committee with Nigeria, and MoUs on cooperation on the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) with the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and Botswana respectively. These documents have further consolidated the political mutual trust and traditional friendship between China and Africa, and further expanded prospects for cooperation for the two sides.
Facing the formidable task to defeat the virus, stabilize the economy, and protect livelihoods, China and Africa share the aspiration to intensify cooperation and jointly boost development.
As the largest trading partner of Africa for more than ten consecutive years, China has contributed over 20 percent to the continent’s economic growth for years. So far, 46 African countries and the African Union (AU) have signed documents on cooperation under the framework of the BRI with China.
China and Africa are continuing advancing the implementation of the outcomes of the Beijing Summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) held in 2018, actively promoting coordination between development strategies of the two sides and speeding up high-quality construction of the BRI, which will help Africa build up resilience for economic recovery and growth.
China supports Africa in its endeavors to build the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), enhance connectivity, and ensure sound progress in the building of industrial and supply chains, and is expanding cooperation with Africa in areas of new business forms including digital economy, smart city, clean energy and 5G. This is conducive to Africa’s economic transformation and upgrading.
Last year, China and Africa celebrated the 20th anniversary of the funding of the FOCAC. This year, the two sides are going to further upgrade their bilateral cooperation, taking the opportunity of the new sessions of the FOCAC.
It’s believed that China and Africa will be devoted to pushing forward with the bilateral cooperation towards higher quality and more benefits to people’s livelihoods, and constantly make new achievements in building a closer China-Africa community with a shared future.