Full text: China and Africa in the New Era: A Partnership of Equals

White Paper
The State Council Information Office of the People's Republic of China on Friday released a white paper titled "China and Africa in the New Era: A Partnership of Equals."

XinhuaUpdated: November 26, 2021

III. Strengthening Mutual Support

Friendly relations between the PRC and Africa have endured through more than half a century and withstood the test of time. The two sides have always stood firmly together at critical junctures and on major issues. African countries have provided important support for China's endeavors to safeguard its sovereignty, security and development interests, promote reunification, and achieve national rejuvenation through development. China has firmly supported African countries in realizing national independence, following development paths that fit their national conditions, promoting regional integration, and strengthening themselves through unity. China and Africa have joined forces in confronting the grave challenge posed by Covid-19, further reinforcing their friendship. The solidarity between the Chinese and African peoples enables them to overcome difficulties and obstacles and build a bright future.

1. Upholding International Equity and Justice

China and Africa are important partners in advancing the reform of the global governance system and the reshaping of the international order. Fifty years ago, at its 26th Session, the UN General Assembly adopted Resolution 2758 by an overwhelming majority, restoring the lawful seat of the PRC in the United Nations. Since then, China has played a role of growing importance on the international stage. Among the 76 votes in favor of the resolution, 26 were cast by African countries, while 11 of the 23 sponsors of the draft resolution were from Africa. In the current complex and volatile international situation, China and Africa are jointly advancing multilateralism. They unequivocally oppose protectionism and unilateralism, support each other on issues involving the core interests and major concerns of either side, and safeguard the common interests of developing countries. The theory and practice of China-Africa cooperation provide examples for developing countries in handling international affairs, and important references to the reform of the global governance system.

– Practicing true multilateralism. Holding high the banner of multilateralism, China and Africa steadfastly support the international system with the United Nations at the core, the international order underpinned by international law, and the basic norms governing international relations based on the purposes and principles of the UN Charter. The two sides earnestly maintain international fairness and justice and push the international order in a fairer and more reasonable direction. They reject unilateralism and protectionism, and safeguard an open world economy and the multilateral trade system. China and Africa firmly support an increase in the representation and say of developing countries in the international governance system, especially African countries. When casting its vote in the United Nations, China always stands for developing countries.

– Jointly safeguarding legitimate rights. China and Africa understand and support each other on major issues such as those related to their sovereignty, territorial integrity, national dignity, and development interests. All African countries with diplomatic ties with China strictly abide by the one-China principle and firmly support China's reunification. China steadfastly supports African countries in safeguarding sovereignty and independence, calls on the international community to assist African countries in safeguarding their right to subsistence and development, objects to any form of racism and racial discrimination, and actively pushes for the lifting of unreasonable unilateral sanctions against African countries.

Within the Security Council, China and three African members have established a "1 + 3" consultation mechanism to exchange views on and coordinate responses to major international and regional issues. Since 2017 while holding the rotating presidency of the UN Security Council, China has initiated open debates on "Enhancing African Capacities in Peace and Security", "Peace and Security in Africa: Strengthening Peacekeeping Operations in Africa", "Peace and Security in Africa: Countering Terrorism and Extremism in Africa", and "Peace and Security in Africa: Addressing Root Causes of Conflict in Post-pandemic Recovery in Africa". These have pushed the international community to strengthen unity and cooperation and provide stronger support for Africa's lasting peace.

China and Africa have both proposed that the rights to subsistence and development are seen as the primary and basic human rights, that equal importance is attached to all human rights, that exchanges and cooperation on human rights are carried out on the basis of equality and mutual respect, and that individual countries' right in choosing their development paths is respected. They both oppose politicization of human right issues and double standards, and object to interference in other countries' internal affairs under the pretext of championing human rights.

In response to Western anti-China forces' mudslinging and false accusations on China in regard to Xinjiang- and Hong Kong-related issues, African countries, alongside other developing countries, have voiced their collective or individual support for China's position, at the UN Human Rights Council and the General Assembly's Social, Humanitarian and Cultural Affairs Committee, commonly referred to as the "Third Committee." African countries agree with China's human rights principles, and support the resolution on the contribution of development to the enjoyment of all human rights and the resolution on promoting win-win cooperation in the field of human rights proposed by China at the Human Rights Council.

China calls on the international community to press forward with reform of global economic governance and offer concrete support for Africa's development. During the G20 Hangzhou Summit, at the initiation of China, a G20 Initiative in Support of Industrialization of Africa and Other Least Developed Countries was issued. In 2015, China announced the establishment of a China-UN Peace and Development Fund. Between 2016 and 2020, its 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development Sub-Fund sponsored 34 projects in fields such as poverty alleviation, health, energy access, technology innovation, and infrastructure, with African countries being the major beneficiaries. In May 2021, China and Africa launched the Initiative on Partnership for Africa's Development together. The two sides share the view that supporting the development of Africa is the consensus and shared responsibility of the international community.

China calls on international partners to increase support to Africa in such areas as response to Covid-19 and other pandemics and post-Covid reconstruction, and to pool resources in those areas where Africa's most urgent needs lie, with a view to providing greater impetus to Africa's development.

2. Jointly Combating Covid-19

Confronted by Covid-19, China and Africa have withstood a severe challenge, helping each other and fighting side by side to defeat the pandemic through solidarity and cooperation.

In June 2020, the Extraordinary China-Africa Summit on Solidarity against Covid-19 was held via video link, making China the first country in the world to convene an anti-pandemic summit with Africa. It has provided a guide for international anti-pandemic cooperation with Africa, and injected new impetus into global anti-pandemic cooperation. At the summit, President Xi elaborated on important policies on advancing China-Africa cooperation and strengthening international cooperation amid the pandemic. He called for the accelerated implementation of the outcomes of the FOCAC Beijing Summit, with greater priority to be given to cooperation in the areas of public health, economic reopening, and people's livelihoods. He also announced a series of measures regarding anti-pandemic assistance to Africa, debt relief, debt service suspension, and economic reopening, which have been highly praised and widely welcomed in Africa. Participating leaders issued the Joint Statement of the Extraordinary China-Africa Summit on Solidarity against Covid-19, agreeing to join forces in resolutely fighting the pandemic, pressing for cooperation, practicing multilateralism, and enhancing friendship. Since the summit the two sides have closely worked together on pandemic prevention and control, resuming economic activity, and restoring and progressing China-Africa cooperation.

During the toughest times in China's fight against the epidemic, African countries and regional organizations such as the AU rendered strong support and assistance to China through various means. In February 2020, the Executive Council of the AU issued a communiqué in support of China's anti-epidemic efforts – the first time an important regional organization and an entire continent had offered China such support. Those expressing their support and sympathy also included the heads of state of 48 African countries, heads of government of 11 countries, 12 speakers of legislative bodies, and the chairperson of the AU Commission, who all sent letters or telegrams. The governments of 10 countries issued statements; foreign ministers of 18 countries sent letters; and participants of an AU Peace and Security Council meeting, an emergency meeting of African health ministers and other meetings of major regional organizations also expressed sympathy. Though few African countries are wealthy, they still actively donated money and supplies to China, and some African students studying in China also joined the local fight against the epidemic.

After Covid-19 struck Africa, China immediately offered humanitarian assistance, the largest such program in scale and the most difficult to implement since the founding of the PRC. Since 2020, in coordination with local governments, enterprises and social organizations, the Central Government of China has provided emergency anti-pandemic supplies – including 120 batches of nucleic test reagents, protective gear, masks, eye protectors and ventilators – to 53 African countries and the AU based on their respective needs, with these emergency supplies reaching almost all areas across the continent. China has also actively shared its anti-epidemic experience with African countries, and dispatched anti-epidemic medical expert groups or short-term anti-epidemic medical teams to 17 African countries to fight the epidemic alongside local people. It also pushed for the earlier start of the construction of the headquarters of the Africa Center for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC), a project assisted by China.

China actively honors its commitment to make vaccines a global public good. At the time when Chinese vaccines had just reached the market and domestic supply was tight, China began to supply vaccines to Africa in support of its battle against the pandemic. By November 12, 2021, China had provided over 1.7 billon doses of Covid-19 vaccine to more than 110 countries and organizations, including 50 African countries and the AU Commission, and is striving to provide a total of 2 billion doses by the end of 2021. In addition to donating $100 million to COVAX, China will donate 100 million doses of vaccine to developing countries including those in Africa. Chinese firms are actively engaging in joint vaccine production in Africa with local firms, helping countries, in accordance with their wishes, to realize localized vaccine production. To date they have started localized production in Egypt, and signed cooperative agreements with Morocco and Algeria.

To help African countries cope with the pandemic and overcome temporary difficulties, China supports the effort to reduce the debt burden on African countries, and is actively implementing the G20's Debt Service Suspension Initiative (DSSI). Among G20 members, China ranks first in terms of the amount of deferred debt, having signed debt service suspension agreements or reached consensus with 19 African countries. China supports extending the DSSI till the end of 2021, and is working with relevant members to implement the Common Framework for Debt Treatments beyond the Debt Service Suspension Initiative. For countries experiencing a very serious epidemic situation and under particularly severe pressure, China, together with other stakeholders, will provide support on a case-by-case basis.

3. Winning the Battle against Ebola Together

In 2014, Ebola broke out in Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea. At a time when African people were in difficulties, China offered a helping hand, setting an example for the international community. China was the first to aid Guinea and Sierra Leone, and was the only country to provide laboratories to the epidemic-hit areas in West Africa and set up observation and treatment centers there. China provided rapid, practical and comprehensive anti-Ebola assistance to a total value of RMB750 million, and dispatched nine chartered planes to transport supplies and personnel. It sent more than 1,200 clinical and public health experts to Africa to combat Ebola alongside local medical workers. Chinese medical workers trained some 13,000 local medical workers. China also helped Ebola-stricken countries to build laboratories and treatment centers. Those assistance programs constituted the largest at the time among China's overseas assistance programs in response to public crises in terms of duration, coverage, scale and intensity. Chinese diplomats, medical teams, peacekeepers, and corporate employees chose to stay in Africa rather than evacuate. They managed to overcome their own fear of the epidemic, and thereby gave confidence to local people as well. Chinese and Africans confronted the disaster with sincere friendship, sharing weal and woe.

In 2018, when Ebola broke out again in the DRC, China provided timely emergency humanitarian aid including supplies, money, experts, medicine and training to the country and its neighboring countries including Rwanda, Burundi and Uganda, as well as the AU, helping them to promptly contain the epidemic.

4. Jointly Coping with Natural Disasters

China has always attached importance to disaster relief in Africa, helping it to respond to various natural disasters and humanitarian crises, and providing emergency humanitarian assistance through multilateral organizations such as the UN, the World Food Programme, and the International Committee of the Red Cross.

Chinese people will not forget that in 2008 when China was struck by a devastating earthquake, Equatorial Guinea, a country with only 2 million people, donated 2 million euros, averaging 1 euro per person. The Republic of the Congo donated $1 million after the Wenchuan earthquake, and $2 million for building a primary school after the Yushu earthquake.

In return, China has carried out programs in fields such as food, water supply, women and children's health, and education in 40-plus disaster-stricken African countries, benefiting more than 10 million people, and strongly boosting their economic recovery and social development.

In 2019, cyclone Idai swept across Southeast Africa. China provided emergency humanitarian supplies to Zimbabwe, Mozambique and Malawi, and dispatched an international rescue team of 65 members to the severely-stricken Mozambique, treating more than 3,000 locals. At the end of 2019, locusts plagued the Horn of Africa, threatening the livelihoods of more than 30 million people. In early 2020, though hit by Covid-19, China still provided locust-eradication emergency supplies and aid to Ethiopia, Kenya and Uganda, and allocated funds from the China-FAO South-South Cooperation Trust Fund to assist the three countries to buy prevention and control supplies and carry on capacity building activities.

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