-By H.E. Ren Yisheng, Ambassador of China to Liberia
Recently, the State Council Information Office of China released the white paper "China's International Development Cooperation in the New Era", introducing China's actions and contributions in international development cooperation since 2013, and explaining the concepts and policy propositions of China's international development cooperation in the new era.
The white paper shows that from 2013 to 2018, China's foreign aid funds continued to expand, covering 122 countries and 20 international and regional multilateral organizations. The newly added South-South Cooperation Assistance Fund has become an important vehicle for South-South cooperation between China and international organizations such as the United Nations Development Program and the World Health Organization. As of the end of 2019, the South-South Cooperation Assistance Fund has implemented a total of 82 projects. Among them, funds for agricultural development and food security accounted for 37.89%, and funds for poverty reduction accounted for 37.71%, reaching a total of 75.6%, providing important support for solving the most fundamental livelihood problems of the vast number of developing countries.
China's international development cooperation in the new era highlights the cooperation concept of focusing on people's livelihood and development. Attaching importance to the development of strategic plans and priority needs of various countries, China has implemented a number of assistance projects that benefit the people's livelihood in areas such as poverty reduction, disaster reduction, education, health, agriculture, and environmental protection. China has dispatched 81 agricultural technology expert groups to 37 Asian and African countries, and assisted in the construction of 22 agricultural technology demonstration centers in Liberia and other African countries to support sustainable agricultural production. China has actively promoted vocational education in many developing countries including Liberia by building vocational and technical schools or vocational training centers, and providing vocational and technical education materials.
China's international development cooperation in the new era is helping to build a public health system. From 2015 to 2019, China sent a total of 202 batches of 3588 foreign aid medical team members to developing countries including Liberia, diagnosed and treated 11 million patients, and carried out medical staff training, roving free consultations, medical equipment donations, and specialized surgical operations, etc. Through the counterpart cooperation of medical institutions, China has helped more than 20 countries build professional department capacity. After the Ebola outbreak in West Africa, China provided 5 rounds of emergency humanitarian aid to 13 African countries with a total of US$120 million, and sent nearly 1,200 medical staff and public health experts to Liberia and other affected countries to train 13,000 medical care personnel. China has also assisted in the construction of more than 10 projects including laboratories and treatment centers in Ebola-affected areas. The Liberian treatment center only took more than 20 days from ground-breaking to completion. In 2020, in the face of the sudden Covid-19 epidemic, China provided assistance and support within its capacity to more than 150 countries and international organizations on the premise of doing its own anti-epidemic work, which is the most extensive emergency humanitarian operation with the most concentrated assistance since the founding of New China.
In the new era, China's international development cooperation will be more inclined to least developed countries and developing countries participating in the "Belt and Road" initiative. China will continue to take the elimination of poverty and improvement of people's livelihood as the starting point, implement more livelihood projects in Africa, and provide more measures to benefit the people, especially to create more jobs for young people, and support the protection of the interests of women and children, the elderly, the disabled and other vulnerable groups.
China's international development cooperation in the new era supports African countries in taking a path of independent, green and sustainable development. The first is to support countries in exploring their own distinctive development paths based on their own national conditions. China will increase support for capacity building, planning and design, technology transfer, people-to-people exchanges, governance experience sharing, etc., to enhance the independent development capabilities of African countries. The second is to practice green development. China will actively help African countries implement new energy, environmental protection and climate change projects, pay more attention to the impact of the ecological environment in various aid projects, and firmly maintain the global climate governance process. The third is to adhere to sustainable development. By providing supporting technical services, promoting the integration of investment, construction, and operation, as well as strengthening vocational training and education and technical cooperation, China will help improve the continuous and comprehensive benefits of the construction assistance projects that have been put into operation.
China's international development cooperation in the new era insists on coordinated advancement and promotes common development. China will continue to closely integrate the joint construction of the "Belt and Road" with the implementation of the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, strengthen international macroeconomic policy coordination, match the concerns of African countries, support more practical projects for the resumption of work and production, and maintain global supply chain stable and smooth. At the same time, China will continue to promote South-South cooperation, share governance experience and appropriate technologies without reservation, increase the supply of global public goods, guide more resources for the sustainable economic and social development of African countries, increase commitment to the countries that jointly build"Belt and Road", least developed countries, heavily indebted poor countries and other countries, and lead more African countries to integrate into the international division of labor and cooperation system. On the premise of fully respecting the wishes of recipient countries, through South-South cooperation assistance funds and the establishment of funds in multilateral institutions, China will carry out pragmatic cooperation with relevant countries and international organizations to support the sustainable development of African countries and jointly respond to global challenges.