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Similar tasks, similar goals

By YU JIANG | China Daily Global | Updated: 2024-02-29 08:17
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MA XUEJING/CHINA DAILY

 

With the help of China, Africa is becoming a key force driving the transformation of the international system and global order

The African Union joined the G20 in September 2023, making it the second regional organization — after the European Union — to be included in the grouping. At a summit in Ghana held in November 2023, delegates from the AU and Caribbean Community agreed to establish the Global Reparation Fund that seeks compensation owed to millions of Africans enslaved centuries ago during the transatlantic slave trade. This represents an effort by African countries to increase their say in international affairs, and throw off the yoke of Western oppression and control.

On Jan 1, 2024, the BRICS group officially included five new members, Egypt, Ethiopia, Iran, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, doubling the bloc's membership to 10 nations, a move that caters to the shared desire of emerging economies and developing countries, and follows the global trend toward multipolarity. Currently, there are three BRICS member countries from Africa, giving the continent greater weight in the group. The latest expansion of BRICS has ushered in a new era in the cooperation of Global South, and helps enhance the representation and voice of the Global South in international affairs and foster a more just and equitable global order.

In 2013, President Xi Jinping proposed the principles of sincerity, real results, amity and good faith and the principles of pursuing the greater good and shared interests. Adhering to these principles, China-Africa cooperation has yielded fruitful results over the past decade, serving as a prime example of a new type of international relations.

First, political mutual trust has been strengthened. At the 2015 Johannesburg summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation, the China-Africa relationship was upgraded to a comprehensive strategic partnership. Later in 2018, the two sides proposed to build a closer China-Africa community with a shared future. And at the Eighth Ministerial Meeting of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation held in 2021, the spirit of China-Africa friendly cooperation was encapsulated as "sincere friendship and equality, win-win for mutual benefit and common development, fairness and justice, and progress with the times and openness and inclusiveness".

Second, practical cooperation has been upgraded. In terms of trade cooperation, the China-Africa trade volume hit a record high of $282.1 billion in 2023, a year-on-year increase of 1.5 percent. China has remained Africa's largest trading partner for 15 consecutive years. During the first half of 2023, China's industry-wide direct investment in Africa reached $1.82 billion, jumping 4.4 percent year-on-year, while the country's contract volume for new projects in Africa was $28.4 billion, a growth of 7.64 percent.

In the field of the digital economy, China and Africa have formulated and implemented a plan for digital innovation partnership to help Africa improve its digital infrastructure to harvest digital dividends by fostering the digital economy and developing digital education.

The two sides have also laid out the targets for mid- and long-term cooperation by adopting the China-Africa Cooperation Vision 2035, and aligning the initiative with the United Nations 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda, the AU's 2063 Agenda and the respective development strategies of African countries, to promote the building of an even closer China-Africa community with a shared future.

Third, mutual support is firm and strong. In recent years, Western countries have repeatedly smeared and attacked China on issues related to Taiwan, Hong Kong, Xinjiang, Xizang and the COVID-19 pandemic. African countries have stood by China on these issues in platforms such as the United Nations Human Rights Council, and the Third Committee of the UN General Assembly. In addition, China and Africa have joined hands in safeguarding the multilateral trading system that is inclusive, open and transparent. And thanks to their joint efforts, the 12th ministerial conference of the World Trade Organization achieved better-than-expected results.

As the world is confronted with tough challenges, China is committed to building a multipolar world that is equal and orderly and a global economy that is inclusive and open. Standing at a new starting point, China and Africa have a promising prospect of building a community with a shared future.

First, China's African policy closely integrates China's development with Africa's development. As the world undergoes profound shifts in the balance of power, the international community is attaching greater emphasis to Africa. To cozy up to Africa, some countries have made pie-in-the-sky promises; and in pursuit of their narrow self-interests are looking to turn Africa into a stage for major-power competition, forcibly impose their values on Africa and wantonly interfere in the internal affairs of African nations. China opposes hegemony and power politics, as well as the monopoly of a small number of countries over international affairs. China seeks multipolarity and believes that all countries, large or small, are equal, and that all nations, especially the vast number of African countries, can find their own places in a fairer global order.

Second, it is the shared pursuit of China and Africa to realize modernization. The two sides have produced impressive results in industrial and agricultural modernization since the Belt and Road Initiative was launched. Currently, Chinese people are marching toward the second centenary goal of building China into a great modern socialist country in all respects, and Africa is pushing ahead with its economic integration and modernization drive under the 2063 Agenda.

China and Africa support each other in exploring their respective modernization paths, and the two sides have similar goals and tasks. The success China has achieved in its modernization has prompted many African countries to "look to the East". In recent years, countries such as Ethiopia and Rwanda have realized fast development by combining experiences from China with their own realities.

Third, China and Africa have extensive and profound common strategic interests. Against the background of the collective rise of the Global South, China and Africa are jointly pushing the building of a global order that is more fair and just and creating a high-level China-Africa community with a shared future. Safeguarding world stability and peace is in the fundamental interests of the vast number of developing countries. Africa is striving to end its conflicts and wars. China and Africa should jointly pursue common, comprehensive, cooperative and sustainable security, and push for the settlement of global and regional hotspot issues through dialogue.

To solve the common challenges facing humanity, such as development deficits, security dilemmas, and mistrust among civilizations, China has proposed the Global Development Initiative, the Global Security Initiative and the Global Civilization Initiative, and put forward the vision of building a human community with a shared future, gaining wide support from African countries. Going forward, China and Africa will cooperate more closely in tackling global challenges, building a fairer global governance system and a new type of international relations for a better future.

The author is vice-president of 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.

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