China, Africa on shared mission for better future: editorial | Updated: 2018-09-04 21:09

"Community with a shared future" has become so prominent in Chinese diplomacy lately that it should come as no surprise that the 2018 summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation passed its Beijing declaration on Tuesday promising to build a "closer China-Africa community with a shared future".

China is not the only one making promises to Africa. But what is special about those from Beijing is, they are not made with the intention of imposing its will on African countries.

As he did in 2015, President Xi Jinping has earmarked $60 billion, including grants, interests-free and concessional loans, to support the 2019-21 action plan that was announced on Tuesday. Unlike other similar development aid programs extended to Africa, this assistance has no political strings attached. For as Xi said, China respects and supports Africa, as over the years it has proven to be "a good friend, good partner and good brother".

We have seen other similar development aid programs fall flat, and numerous pledges left unhonored, but Xi vowed China will do everything it can to help Africa alleviate poverty, pursue development, increase employment and income, and better the lives of its people.

And it is not just talk. In a show of good faith, Xi simultaneously wrote off inter-government interest-free debts due at year's end that are owed by the least developed and heavily indebted poor countries, as well as landlocked and small island developing countries in Africa that have diplomatic relations with China. Only the indebted countries themselves know how much that means to them.

If all this sounds too good to be true, if the idea of a "China-Africa community of shared future" sounds too abstract, then one only has to look at the full wording of the declaration's title to see that it is firmly grounded in the reality that both will benefit from strengthening their cooperation.

Close collaboration with African countries will not only lift the China-Africa comprehensive strategic and cooperative partnership to new heights, it will also strengthen the cooperation of developing countries in pursuit of a fairer global governance system.

In doing so, China and Africa can demonstrate that a community with a shared future is not just a phrase, but the way "to make the world a place of peace and stability and life happier and more fulfilling for all".

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