Aspiration & Substantive Results Keep China-Africa Coop on the Right Path

By  Ambassador Liu Yuxi

ADDIS ABABA – The Coordinators’ Meeting on the Implementation of the Follow-up Actions of the Beijing Summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) was held recently in Beijing. China and Africa unanimously agreed to build a community of shared future, to jointly pursue a development path under the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), to safeguard the just position of multilateralism and the spirit of equitable and open cooperation.

The coordinators’ meeting was another important gathering in the process of China-Africa friendly engagement and practical cooperation to catapult China-Africa Comprehensive Strategic and Cooperative Partnership to a higher level.

With rising unilateralism, protectionism, and bullying actions in the contemporary world, economic globalization is confronted by various counter-currents involving a growing number of uncertainties in international politics which have become the major barriers constraining the development of developing countries.

China as the biggest developing country and Africa as the continent with the largest number of developing countries remain true to their original aspiration by joining hands to promote a community of shared future for mankind, ushering in a new chapter of humanity’s unity, coordination, mutual benefits, and common win.

Progress with joint hands is the eternal aspiration of China-Africa cooperation. China-Africa engagement features reciprocity and bears no mark of colonization and invasion. China believes in equality among nations regardless of their size, wealth or strength, seeks no political self-interests in cooperation, fully respects the sovereignty of African countries, and supports Africa to independently explore development paths befitting their own conditions.

Africa is an important cornerstone of China’s foreign policy. President Xi Jinping has visited Africa many times, including different regions on the continent, and meets frequently with leaders of African countries on multilateral occasions, forging an unbreakable friendship with his counterparts.

The 29-year-old tradition that the Chinese foreign minister’s first overseas trip in the new year takes him to Africa bears testament to the brotherly affinity between the two sides. China and Africa have been mutually supportive on issues of core interests, and share positions on promoting democracy in international relations and safeguarding multilateralism, international equality and justice, and the common interests of developing countries. China and Africa have developed a model of South-South cooperation partnership in unity despite the ever-changing international situation.

Joint development is an important mission of China-Africa cooperation. China and Africa are committed to realizing the lofty dream of national prosperity, revitalization and people’s happiness, and promoting common development through practical cooperation. China sincerely supports Africa’s progress and always delivers on its words.

Through the implementation of the follow-up actions of the FOCAC Beijing Summit, aligning with Agenda 2063, and joining hands in the BRI, China-Africa cooperation is creating new development opportunities for Africa. China has been Africa’s top trading partner for the tenth consecutive year, and its overall investment in Africa stands at over US$ 110 billion.

Twenty-four African countries have forged strategic partnerships or comprehensive cooperative partnerships with China. More than 3,700 Chinese businesses are investing in African countries. China does not rely on hyped ideas or lip-service in its cooperation with Africa and believes that actions speak louder than words. The follow-up actions of the FOCAC Beijing Summit last year are bearing fruit.

China will be implementing over 880 cooperation projects in Africa. Major projects such as the Maputo-Catembe Bridge, Africa’s longest suspension bridge, and Guinea’s Souapiti hydropower station have been either completed or put on fast-track implementation. The first Luban Workshop opened in Djibouti.

The China-Africa Institute was launched in Beijing. China and the AU signed documents on the construction of the Africa Center for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC). The Dialogue on the Implementation of China-Africa Peace and Security Initiative was held in Addis Ababa. China is taking concrete actions to transform Africa’s advantages to development drivers, making significant contributions to Africa’s peaceful development on a mutually beneficial basis.

Keeping up with the times is an essential feature of China-Africa cooperation. China-Africa cooperation is progressing in both quality and efficiency in an era of economic globalization. China-Africa cooperation are expanding to new areas such as ICTs, digital economy and renewable energies. Cooperation such as public-private-partnership (PPP), investment-build-operation (IBO), and investment and financing are developing exponentially. RMB settlement in cross-border trade has made great headway.

China focuses on improving Africa’s business environment to attract foreign investment, stresses indigenization in business operation, supports Africa’s capacity-building and promotes regional economic corridors and development centers to facilitate industrial relocation and technological transfer, creating employment, taxes and foreign exchanges for host countries.

The Eastern Industry Zone built with Chinese investment is Ethiopia’s first industrial zone, and it has 81 businesses in its premise with a combined investment valued at US$ 370 million. It has generated more than US$ 60 million tax income and over 10,000 job opportunities, making a significant contribution to Ethiopia’s economic and social development.

China is committed to the ideas of sincerity, real results, affinity, and good faith and the righteous vision of justice and interests, and pursues intensive and green development according to transparent and market-based principles to ensure the high-quality development of China-Africa cooperation.

China-Africa cooperation is well-known for its openness and inclusiveness. International investment in Africa has been growing rapidly in recent years. Operating under the sun, China-Africa cooperation seeks not to form exclusive groups or spheres of influence and opposes black casework and the vicious view of big-power competition.

International cooperation with Africa is not about one partner being superior to the other, what matters is the substantive work we do for Africa’s development. China believes that international cooperation with Africa should stick to the principle of Africa First and China is willing to work with all other countries to play complementary roles for Africa’s peace, stability, and development. The BRI is not China’s solo show, but a choir involving other parties for its implementation.

In fact, China has conducted meaningful trilateral cooperation with western countries including the UK and France, proving the enormous cooperation possibilities among different partners of Africa. Africa is not a race track or hunter’s arena for external powers. The long-held Cold-War mentality, zero-sum game theory and the law of jungle should be rejected to make room for the principles of “African Initiative, African Consent and African Ownership” to chart the right way of cooperation and common win.

Under new circumstances, China-Africa cooperation is exhibiting new vitality and bright development. In spite of complicated and profound changes in the international situation, China-Africa cooperation and common win are pressing head vigorously.

China will persevere in the original aspiration of China-Africa cooperation after the coordinators’ meeting to build a closer community of shared future, strengthen bilateral communication and cooperation in international and regional affairs, and step up efforts to align development strategies so that the practical cooperation achievements will benefit more people and keep China-Africa cooperation progressing on a stable path to the future.

The writer is Ambassador Liu Yuxi, Head of Mission of the People’s Republic of China to the African Union in Ethiopia

Editor’s note: The article reflects the author’s opinion only, and not necessarily the views of the editorial opinion of Ethiopian Monitor Online.