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New era of cooperation

By GERT GROBLER | China Daily Global | Updated: 2022-08-05 07:30
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[JIN DING/CHINA DAILY]

The Global Development Initiative offers a fresh perspective and further support for Africa's development

We are living in an uncertain and troubled world, facing numerous global challenges as a result of a lack of leadership, introspective policies, unilateralism, lingering economic recovery and the fueling of geopolitical tensions. But sadly, the response from the international community remains totally inadequate and fragmented. It is in this context that President Xi Jinping's words at the Communist Party of China and World Political Parties Summit in July 2021 hold special significance: "In the face of common challenges, no person or country can remain insulated. The only way out is to work together in harmony with one accord."

The COVID-19 pandemic has not only put health systems in African countries increasingly under pressure, but also had far-reaching ramifications for the continent, leading to the slowing down of the commendable political, economic and social progress that Africa has made over the last few decades.

Amid the global crisis, African countries are experiencing increasing economic and development challenges. In fact, many African countries need enhanced economic cooperation and financial assistance to implement policies and programs to deal with these crisis. According to the African Development Bank, African nations need $424 billion this year to manage the devastation caused by the pandemic, further compounded by the current crisis in Ukraine. After decades of progress in the continent's fight against poverty, the COVID-19 pandemic and other challenges dragged about 30 million Africans into "extreme poverty" in 2020.

Africa has witnessed the profound changes and progress China has made over the past years, under the leadership of the CPC. Africa furthermore welcomes the fact that China is prepared to share its development experiences and expertise in an open and inclusive manner, bringing more progress and prosperity not only to itself but also to the rest of the world.

China and Africa's cooperation has been significantly enhanced by a number of momentous events over the last year or so which augurs well for strengthened future relations. These include the release by the Chinese government of its comprehensive and constructive white paper on China and Africa cooperation in November 2021, the productive Forum on China-Africa Cooperation held in Dakar in November 2021 and the successful visits by Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi to Eritrea, Kenya and the Comoros in January 2022.

It is against this background that Africa and China are jointly promoting enhanced cooperation under the framework of the Belt and Road Initiative and the Global Development Initiative, as advocated at the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation meeting in November 2021, in order to elevate China-Africa cooperation to a higher, more diversified and strategic level.

Since its inception about nine years ago, the Belt and Road Initiative with the support and participation of 149 countries, including more than 40 African nations, and 32 international organizations, is indeed becoming a belt of growing prosperity, contributing to global economic development and benefiting people in many regions.

The joint establishment of the China-African Union Coordination Mechanism for Implementing the Belt and Road Initiative is an important step to inject further momentum into the implementation of the initiative. It will contribute to the institutionalization and standardization of China-AU cooperation on the Belt and Road Initiative by enabling the effective coordination by stakeholders of both sides and strengthening channels and mechanisms for exchanges, communication, and consultations.

President Xi's commendable and significant proposals, under the banner of peace, development and win-win cooperation to build a community with a shared future for mankind, as well as the Global Development Initiative and the Global Security Initiative, have been warmly welcomed by Africa. This has already led to a growing consensus between China and its African and international partners on expanding cooperation on all these constructive Chinese initiatives which will lead to win-win cooperation, deepen South-South cooperation, synergize economic development and security strategies, and contribute to improved global governance and ultimately a better world.

The Global Development Initiative complements the Belt and Road Initiative as a support and cooperation mechanism toward the implementation of the AU's Agenda 2063, the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and global economic development. It furthermore represents an exciting new perspective for international cooperation in a multipolar international order with encouraging new concepts for development and security.

Africa stands ready to join hands with China and all parties to advance the Global Development Initiative, which goes hand in hand with the Belt and Road Initiative, and inject new momentum into Africa-China cooperation as well as global development partnerships at the dawn of a new era of enhanced cooperation.

The author is a senior research fellow at the Institute of African Studies at Zhejiang Normal University and a former senior diplomat in the South African Department of International Relations and Cooperation. 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.

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