China and Africa in the New Era: A Partnership of Equals
Editor's note: China's State Council Information Office on Friday released a white paper titled "China and Africa in the New Era: A Partnership of Equals." The following is the full text:
I.Building an Even Stronger China-Africa Community of Shared Future
II.All-Round China-Africa Cooperation in the New Era
III.Strengthening Mutual Support
IV.Breaking New Ground in China-Africa Relations
China is the largest developing country in the world, and Africa is the continent with the largest number of developing countries. Shared past experiences and similar aims and goals have brought China and Africa close together. China and Africa will always be a community of shared future. Developing solidarity and cooperation with African countries has been the cornerstone of China's foreign policy, as well as a firm and longstanding strategy. In the fight for national liberation and independence, China and African countries supported each other and expanded mutual political trust in the process. In pursuing economic development and national rejuvenation, both sides have been helping the other and increasing the scope of cooperation. On major international and regional issues, they have coordinated their positions and jointly safeguarded international equality and justice.
Entering the new era, Chinese President Xi Jinping put forward the principles of China's Africa policy－sincerity, real results, amity and good faith, and pursuing the greater good and shared interests, charting the course for China's cooperation with Africa, and providing the fundamental guidelines. The dual successes of the Johannesburg Summit in 2015 and the Beijing Summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) in 2018 pushed China-Africa cooperation to a new and unprecedented high. President Xi Jinping and African leaders unanimously decided at the FOCAC Beijing Summit that the two sides would work to build an even stronger China-Africa community of shared future, advance cooperation under the Belt and Road Initiative, establishing a new milestone in China-Africa relations.
China-Africa friendship has not been an overnight achievement, nor has it been gifted from on high. Rather, it has been fostered throughout the years when China and Africa supported and stood alongside each other in trying times. China has aided to the limit of its capabilities the development of Africa, and has been grateful for the strong support and selfless help African countries and their peoples have extended to China for a long period of time. Since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic, China and African countries have continued to provide mutual support, writing a new chapter in China-Africa solidarity and friendship at times of crisis.
This white paper is designed to document the successes of China-Africa cooperation in the new era, and offer a perspective on future cooperation between the two sides.
I. Building an Even Stronger China-Africa Community of Shared Future
China and Africa enjoy a long-lasting friendship. Chairman Mao Zedong and other first-generation leaders of the People's Republic of China (PRC), along with African statesmen of the older generation, laid the foundations for China-Africa friendship. China has always offered respect, appreciation, and support for Africa, and the Chinese people have shared weal and woe and mutual assistance with African people, exploring a distinctive path to win-win cooperation. At the FOCAC Beijing Summit held in September 2018, the two sides decided to build an even stronger China-Africa community of shared future and lead China-Africa relations and cooperation into a new era. China and Africa have stood together in success and adversity, setting an example for building a global community of shared future.
1. The Principles of Sincerity, Real Results, Amity and Good Faith and the Principles of Pursuing the Greater Good and Shared Interests
The principles of sincerity, real results, amity and good faith and the principles of pursuing the greater good and shared interests epitomize China's policy to Africa. They represent the essence of Chinese culture and embody the historical traditions of China-Africa friendship－a role model for international cooperation with Africa. They are the overarching guiding principles for China in building up solidarity and cooperation with developing countries, including those in Africa.
"Sincerity" is how we treat our African friends. Nothing is more important than a true friend. China has always considered solidarity and cooperation with African countries to be an essential element of its foreign policy. This will never change, not even when China grows stronger and enjoys a higher international status. China is ready to reinforce mutual support with African countries on issues involving core interests and major concerns of either or both. China will continue its firm support for Africa's position on international and regional affairs, and uphold the common interests of developing countries. China will continue its support for African countries' efforts to resolve their continent's issues in their own way, and make a greater contribution to peace and security in Africa. China will continue its firm support for African countries' efforts to explore development paths suited to their national conditions. It also stands ready to increase exchanges on governance experience with African countries and boost common development and prosperity, by drawing on wisdom from the time-honored civilizations and experience of both sides.
"Real results" are what China aims to achieve in its cooperation with Africa. China is a champion of win-win cooperation and works to put the principle into action. China is committed to integrating its own development closely with Africa's development, and the Chinese people's interests with those of African peoples. By so doing, China sincerely hopes that African countries will grow stronger and that African life will get better. While pursuing its own development, China has extended support and assistance to its African friends to the limits of its capacity. Particularly in recent years, China has scaled up its assistance and cooperation with Africa. Whenever it makes a commitment, China will always honor it to the letter. It will continue to expand cooperation in investment and financing with Africa and strengthen mutually beneficial cooperation in agricultural and manufacturing sectors. By so doing, China will help African countries translate their strengths in resources into advantages in development and realize independent and sustainable development.
"Amity" is a principle China follows in strengthening China-Africa friendship. The peoples of China and Africa are destined to be good friends. Their hearts are bonded through dialogue and concrete actions. China-Africa friendship has its roots and lifeblood in the people, and the goal of China-Africa relations is to benefit the people. The two sides have long valued people-to-people exchanges, so that the Chinese people and African people know each other well and China-Africa friendship has grown on a solid social base. China-Africa friendship is forward-looking. To flourish, it needs continuous efforts by aspirational Chinese and African youth from one generation to another. The two sides should promote youth exchanges so that the friendship can maintain dynamism and vigor.
"Good faith" should be honored in solving problems arising from cooperation. Both China and Africa are at a stage of rapid development. Their mutual understanding should keep abreast of the times. China faces up squarely to any new problems in their relations, and is committed to properly addressing emerging problems in a spirit of mutual respect and winwin cooperation.
In terms of the principles of shared interests and the greater good, each is of vital importance, but more emphasis is given to the latter. In international affairs, China advocates political justice, mutual economic benefit, win-win cooperation, and common development. It upholds good faith, friendship, and integrity. Properly handling the relationship between shared interests and the greater good is an essential requirement of China-Africa relations in the new era. The greatest good in China-Africa relations is to closely combine Africa's independent and sustainable development with China's own development, and reject the zero-sum game and actions driven by a narrow pursuit of profit. The ultimate goal is to realize win-win cooperation.
2. Mutual Respect and Common Development
China-Africa cooperation is about mutual support between developing countries. Over the years, China has formed a distinctive approach to win-win cooperation with Africa. The approach is in line with the traditional Chinese philosophy, "Do not do to others what you do not want others to do to you." It also corresponds to the fundamental interests of African countries and the basic norms of international relations. It is a hallmark of China-Africa solidarity and cooperation and can serve as a useful reference for international cooperation with Africa.
China's approach involves upholding four principles:
・ Upholding sincerity, friendship and equality. The Chinese people have worked together with African people in pursuit of a shared future. China respects, appreciates and supports Africa.
・ Upholding shared interests and the greater good, with greater emphasis on the latter. In its cooperation with Africa, China applies the principles of giving more and taking less, giving before taking, and giving without asking for something in return. It welcomes African countries aboard the express train of China's development with open arms.
・ Upholding a people-oriented approach in pursuing practical cooperation with efficiency. In its cooperation with Africa, China gives top priority to the interests and wellbeing of the peoples of China and Africa, and works to their benefit. China is committed to fully honoring the promises it has made to its African friends.
・ Upholding openness and inclusiveness. China stands ready to work with other international partners to support Africa in pursuing peace and development. It welcomes and supports all initiatives that further Africa's interests.
In developing relations with Africa, there are five lines that China will not cross: no interference in African countries' choice of a development path that fits their national conditions; no interference in African countries' internal affairs; no imposition of its will on African countries; no attachment of political strings to assistance to Africa; and no pursuit of selfish political gains through investment and financing cooperation with Africa.
3. The Lofty Goal of Building a Community of Shared Future
At the FOCAC Beijing Summit in 2018, China and Africa reached a strategic agreement to build a China-Africa community of shared future characterized by joint responsibility, win-win cooperation, happiness for all, cultural prosperity, common security, and harmony between humanity and nature. This is a fundamental program of action, and a lofty goal for the two sides. It has charted the course for China-Africa cooperation in the new era.
・ In assuming joint responsibility, the two sides will reinforce mutual understanding and support on issues involving each other's core interests and major concerns, and boost coordination on major international and regional issues. These efforts will enable the two sides to uphold the common interests of China and Africa as well as other developing countries.
・ In pursuing win-win cooperation, China and Africa will seize the opportunity created by the complementarity between their respective development strategies and the major opportunities presented by the Belt and Road Initiative. This will allow them to expand areas of cooperation and unlock new cooperation potential.
・ In delivering happiness for all and growing China-Africa relations, the clear goal of the two sides is to make people's lives better. The cooperation between the two sides must deliver real benefit to the people in both China and African countries.
・ In pursuing cultural prosperity, China and Africa will work to strengthen the bond between their peoples by increasing exchanges, mutual learning and harmonious co-existence between the civilizations of the two sides, invigorating their civilizations and cultures, enriching their artistic creations, and providing richer cultural nourishment.
・ In seeking common security, China is ready to play a constructive role, and will support African countries in strengthening their independent capacity for safeguarding stability and peace. China firmly supports African countries and the African Union (AU), as well as other regional organizations in Africa, in their efforts to solve African issues in African ways.
・ In promoting harmony between humanity and nature, China will strengthen exchanges and cooperation with Africa on climate change, clean energy, prevention and control of desertification and soil erosion, protection of wildlife, and other areas of ecological and environmental sensitivity. Through their combined efforts, the two sides will make China and Africa beautiful places for people to live in harmony with nature.
Ultimately, it is for the Chinese and African people to judge the results of China-Africa cooperation. China's aim in developing cooperation with Africa will always be to promote the fundamental interests of the Chinese and African people. It will never make containment of any third country an aim of its policy in Africa.
4. An Exemplary Model for World Development and Cooperation
When China-Africa cooperation thrives, South-South cooperation will flourish. When China and Africa are fully developed, the world will be a better place. Cooperation in the new era is the sure way for China and Africa to realize common development. It will lay more solid foundations for building an even stronger China-Africa community of shared future, and build up strong momentum for the rise of developing countries as a whole, and for more balanced international relations.
Under the combined impact of the pandemic, a scale of change unseen in a century, and a sharp conflict between multilateralism and unilateralism, the global governance system is facing profound and unprecedented challenges. China sees Africa as a broad stage for international cooperation rather than an arena for competition among major countries. China-Africa cooperation has never been a case of talk and no action. It is a case of bringing tangible benefits to people in China and Africa, and creating more favorable conditions for others in the international community to conduct cooperation with Africa. In the new era, through solidarity and cooperation, the peoples of China and Africa will set an example in increasing the wellbeing of humanity, creating a new type of international relations, and building a global community of shared future.
II. All-Round China-Africa Cooperation in the New Era
China and Africa trust each other and China-Africa friendship is rock-solid. China is committed to consolidating China-Africa political mutual trust, expanding pragmatic cooperation with Africa in various areas, and extending its help to boost peace and development in the continent. China has always been on the forefront of international cooperation with Africa. After years of dedicated efforts, the tree of China-Africa cooperation has flourished－it is tall and strong, and cannot be shaken by any force. China-Africa friendship is in its prime. The fruitful results of China-Africa cooperation can be seen across the continent. It has improved the conditions for economic and social development in Africa and brought tangible benefits to people in both China and Africa.
1. Mutual Political Trust
Since the founding of the PRC in 1949, China and African countries have always been good friends who stand together through prosperity and adversity, good partners who share weal and woe, and good comrades who fully trust each other in a shifting international landscape. In 2006, the FOCAC Beijing Summit decided to establish a new type of China-Africa strategic partnership. In 2015, the FOCAC Johannesburg Summit decided to build a China-Africa comprehensive strategic and cooperative partnership. In the 2018 FOCAC Beijing Summit, the two sides agreed to build an even stronger China-Africa community of shared future, raising China-Africa relations to a new level.
High-level exchanges play an important role in developing China-Africa relations. State leaders of the two sides value communication and coordination on bilateral relations and major issues of common interest. Their exchanges have laid solid political groundwork for consolidating traditional friendship, increasing mutual political trust, safeguarding common interests, and pursuing development and cooperation. In March 2013, President Xi Jinping visited Africa, his first official overseas visit after assuming the office of president. To date he has made four visits to different locations across the continent.
Panel 1 President Xi Jinping visits Africa on four occasions
In March 2013, President Xi visited Tanzania, South Africa and the Republic of the Congo, and attended the Fifth BRICS Leaders Meeting held in South Africa as well as the BRICS Leaders-Africa Dialogue Forum and a breakfast meeting with a group of African leaders. This was the first time that a Chinese head of state had chosen Africa as the destination for his first official state visit. President Xi made an important speech in Tanzania, when he expounded on China's policy to Africa in the new era based on the principles of sincerity, real results, amity and good faith. President Xi declared to the world that China and Africa have always been a community of shared future, and will be each other's trustworthy friends and sincere partners.
In December 2015, President Xi visited Zimbabwe and South Africa, and co-chaired the FOCAC Johannesburg Summit with then South African president Jacob Zuma. At the summit, President Xi proposed strengthening the "five major pillars" of China-Africa relations, and announced 10 major cooperation plans with Africa over the following three years.
In January 2016, President Xi visited Egypt, and a blueprint was created for China-Egypt cooperation.
In July 2018, President Xi once again chose Africa as the destination for his first state visit after he was re-elected Chinese president. He made state visits to Senegal, Rwanda and South Africa, attended the 10th BRICS Leaders Meeting, and paid a friendly visit to Mauritius during a stopover.
During the 2018 FOCAC Beijing Summit, President Xi had one-on-one meetings with more than 50 African leaders, renewing friendships, exploring cooperation, and discussing the future. He also attended close to 70 bilateral and multilateral events.
After the FOCAC Beijing Summit in 2018, 17 African leaders came to China for state visits or meetings. Following the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic, state leaders of the two sides have maintained contacts and communication via video and phone calls. In June 2020, President Xi Jinping presided over the Extraordinary China-Africa Summit on Solidarity Against Covid-19 via video link. Thirteen African leaders and chairperson of the AU Commission attended the summit. Since the pandemic struck, President Xi has talked by phone with African state leaders on 17 occasions, maintaining close high-level contacts and exchanges with his African counterparts. President Xi has always treated African friends as equals, and fostered solid friendships and profound trust with African leaders. This head-of-state diplomacy has guided China-Africa relations to steady and sustained prosperity.
China and Africa consistently work to diversify and improve intergovernmental dialogue, consultation and cooperation mechanisms. They make the most of the coordinating role of the mechanism to promote all-round development of China-Africa cooperation in various areas. China has established a comprehensive strategic and cooperative partnership with nine African countries, a comprehensive strategic partnership with three, a strategic partnership with six, and a comprehensive cooperative partnership with seven. China has set up bi-national commissions and diplomatic consultation or strategic dialogue mechanisms with 21 African countries and the AU Commission, and joint (mixed) committees on trade and economic cooperation with 51 African countries. In 2016, China and the AU established a consultation mechanism on human rights. In 2017, China established the High-Level People-to-People Exchange Mechanism with South Africa, the first of its kind between China and an African country. China-Africa cooperation at the local level is flourishing. The two sides have held four cooperation forums between local governments since 2012. There are currently 160 pairings of sister provinces/cities between China and African countries, 48 of which have been established since 2013.
China and African countries conduct close exchanges between political parties, legislative bodies and consultative bodies, building multi-level, multi-channel, multi-form and multi-dimensional friendly cooperation. The Communist Party of China expands exchanges and cooperation with political parties in African countries based on the principles of independence, equality, mutual respect and non-interference in each other's internal affairs. It is committed to building a new type of relations between political parties in which different political parties seek common ground while setting aside differences, and they respect and learn from each other. The two sides make full use of the positive role of legislation and supervision to provide policy support for bilateral cooperation and exchanges. The National People's Congress of China has established mechanisms for regular exchanges with parliaments in Egypt, South Africa and Kenya, and bilateral friendship groups with parliaments in 35 African countries. The National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) and its subsidiary organs maintain contacts with 59 institutions in 39 African countries. In June 2019, the CPPCC National Committee established the China-Africa Friendship Group, the first of its kind in the history of the CPPCC.
Panel 2 The Communist Party of China has maintained frequent exchanges with political parties in Africa
The Communist Party of China (CPC) has established official contacts with more than 110 political parties in 51 African countries. Over the past years, African political parties have actively participated in the CPC in Dialogue with World Political Parties High-Level Meeting and the thematic forum on people-to-people connectivity of the Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation, among other exchange events. Sixty-nine political parties in 42 African countries issued a joint statement with the CPC, calling on political parties across the world to join together in fighting COVID-19. Political parties and political organizations in Africa－including more than 80 African state and political party leaders－delivered 220 telegrams and letters of congratulation to the CPC when the latter celebrated the centennial of its founding. Heads of state or government from eight African countries－South Africa, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, the Republic of the Congo, Namibia, South Sudan, Morocco and Mauritius－attended the CPC and World Political Parties Summit via video link.
Over the past years, more African countries have joined the extended family of China-Africa friendship. China restored ambassadorial-level diplomatic relations with The Gambia on March 17, 2016, with Sao Tome and Principe on December 26, 2016, and with Burkina Faso on May 26, 2018. China now has diplomatic relations with 53 African countries, with the sole exception of Eswatini.
China has been active in developing cooperation with the AU and African sub-regional organizations. The AU Conference Center, which was built with Chinese assistance, was inaugurated in January 2012. It was the second-largest project in Africa to be built with China's assistance after the Tanzania-Zambia Railway. In 2014, China sent a mission to the AU, marking a new stage of China-AU relations. China values the AU's leading role in advancing African integration and building a stronger African continent through unity, and supports its dominant role in safeguarding peace and security in Africa. China also supports the AU in playing a bigger role in regional and international affairs, adopting Agenda 2063, and executing the First Ten-Year Implementation Plan.
In a capacity of observer, China has attended the summit of many African sub-regional organizations including the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), the Southern African Development Community (SADC), the East African Community (EAC), and the Intergovernmental Authority on Development and the Economic Community of Central African States. China has sent ambassadors to the ECOWAS, SADC and EAC.