|Report by State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi<br> At the Eighth Ministerial Conference of the<br> Forum on China-Africa Cooperation|
Dakar, 30 November 2021
On behalf of the Chinese Follow-up Committee of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC), I hereby report to the Ministerial Conference the implementation of the follow-up actions of the 2018 FOCAC Beijing Summit and the Seventh Ministerial Conference.
In September 2018, the 2018 FOCAC Beijing Summit and the Seventh Ministerial Conference was successfully held, which was a milestone in the history of China-Africa relations. The meeting adopted the Beijing Declaration—Toward an Even Stronger China-Africa Community with a Shared Future and the FOCAC Beijing Action Plan (2019-2021). The two sides agreed to build a China-Africa community with a shared future that features joint responsibility, win-win cooperation, happiness for all, common cultural prosperity, common security, and harmonious co-existence, and to work together on the eight major initiatives.
Over the past three years, China and Africa have collaborated closely to overcome COVID-19 and other challenges and to implement the follow-ups of the Summit. So far, all follow-ups are in place, except two involving personnel exchange and training that were not yet fully implemented due to COVID-19. Specifically —
First, China-Africa political mutual trust has reached a new level. High-level exchange plays an important role in guiding China-Africa relations. Overcoming the difficulties caused by COVID-19 on face-to-face interactions, our two sides have maintained high-level exchanges via video link, phone calls and in other forms. President Xi Jinping attaches high importance to China-Africa relations, and has used various ways to enhance direct communication with African leaders. On the sidelines of the G20 Summit in 2019, President Xi Jinping held a meeting with leaders of some African countries. In June 2020, President Xi Jinping, together with leaders of 13 African countries and Chairman of the Commission of the African Union (AU), convened the Extraordinary China-Africa Summit on Solidarity Against COVID-19, sending a strong message to the international community of China and Africa working in solidarity to tide over difficulties under the new circumstances. Since COVID-19 broke out, President Xi Jinping has had 17 telephone calls with heads of state of African countries and has, together with African leaders, charted the course for China-Africa relations. The Global Development Initiative that President Xi Jinping put forward during this year’s meeting of the United Nations General Assembly has been warmly received by many African countries.
Facing the new international landscape and various global challenges, China and Africa have held high the banner of multilateralism, firmly upheld the purposes and principles of the UN Charter, and worked together to promote a more just and equitable international order and safeguard the interests of all developing countries. China has firmly supported African countries in seeking strength through unity, continued to speak up for Africa on multilateral occasions, and called on the international community to scale up attention and support to the cause of peace and development of Africa. In May this year, China and Africa jointly launched the Initiative on Partnership for Africa’s Development at the UN Security Council open debate on “Peace and security in Africa: addressing root causes of conflict in post-pandemic recovery in Africa”, demonstrating their firm determination to strengthen solidarity and coordination and jointly promote equity and justice under the new circumstances.
China has supported the AU, African sub-regional organizations and relevant countries in playing the leading role in settling regional conflicts. China and Africa have coordinated and collaborated closely on major regional and international issues such as the United Nations reform, climate change, the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, counterterrorism, and international anti-COVID cooperation. When some Western countries attacked and smeared China using issues concerning Xinjiang and Hong Kong, many African countries, along with the vast number of developing countries, sponsored joint statements or made stand-alone statements in the UN Human Rights Council, the Third Committee of the UN General Assembly and other arena in a joint effort to safeguard the principle of non-interference in domestic affairs, a basic norm governing international relations. China and Africa have supported each other’s candidates in elections in the United Nations and other important international organizations. China has given strong support to the African candidates for senior posts in the World Trade Organization, the World Health Organization, the United Nations Industrial Development Organization, and the International Atomic Energy Agency and others. With the support of many African countries, Chinese candidates were successfully elected Director-General of the Food and Agriculture Organization and Secretary-General of the International Telecommunication Union.
Second, China-Africa solidarity and mutual assistance has become a fine example of international cooperation against the pandemic. In face of the sudden onslaught of COVID-19, China and Africa have stood side by side to fight the virus and overcome the difficulties. We have actively implemented the consensus reached by our leaders at the Extraordinary China-Africa Summit on Solidarity Against COVID-19, and have put into action the vision of the China-Africa community with a shared future. At the most challenging time of China’s battle against COVID-19, African countries offered us invaluable support. And when Africa was struck by the virus, China was the first to rush in with assistance. We have sent medical experts or short-term medical teams to 17 African countries, established cooperation mechanisms with 45 hospitals in 40 African countries, and provided anti-epidemic supplies to each and every African member of FOCAC.
China actively follows through President Xi Jinping’s commitment of making vaccines a global public good. It has provided over 180 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines to 53 African countries and the AU Commission. At the opening ceremony of the FOCAC Conference yesterday, President Xi Jinping announced another major initiative — China will provide another one billion doses of COVID-19 vaccines to Africa, of which 600 million doses will be in the form of donations and the other 400 million will be jointly produced in Africa by Chinese and African companies. This is a powerful message of China and Africa working together to close the “immunization gap”. It is a strong impetus for the world to defeat COVID-19 at an early date. To help African countries tackle the pandemic and recover the economy, China is implementing in all aspects the G20 Debt Service Suspension Initiative. It has signed debt service suspension agreements or reached common understanding with 19 African countries. China is also speeding up the construction of the Africa CDC headquarters, and is having cooperation with African countries on joint vaccine production, which will be expanded over time.
Third, China-Africa business cooperation has made new progress. Facing the combined impacts of the pandemic and the major changes both unseen in a century and unbalanced recovery of the world economy, China-Africa business cooperation has maintained a strong growth momentum despite the headwind. New breakthroughs have been achieved in cooperation in digital economy, free trade, private investment and other areas, thus further deepening China-Africa cooperation and taking it to higher levels. Belt and Road cooperation has also been deepened and substantiated. Fifty-two African countries and the AU Commission have signed BRI cooperation agreements with China, providing new drivers for China-Africa cooperation. The eight major initiatives have been successfully implemented, and a large number of cooperation projects are being carried out. The US$60 billion of financing has on the whole been delivered. Among that, implementation for concessional loans and preferential export buyers’ credit was affected due to a number of factors including heavier debt burdens on African countries caused by the pandemic. Nevertheless, other forms of credit and investment have all been over-fulfilled. Later on, Minister of Commerce Wang Wentao will give a detailed briefing on the implementation of the eight major initiatives.
Fourth, China-Africa people-to-people and cultural exchange has gained new development. Think tank and media exchanges and cooperation have become deeper. The China-Africa Institute was inaugurated in April 2019. Under the China-Africa Joint Research and Exchange Plan, more than 60 research projects and seminars have been implemented. The media cooperation networks have kept expanding. Nearly 30 African media organizations have joined the Belt and Road News Alliance, and a “cloud center” has been established in the China-Africa Press Center. The China-Africa Think Tanks Forum, the China-Africa Poverty Reduction and Development Conference, the Forum on China-Africa Media Cooperation, and other high-quality exchange and dialogue events have been held successfully.
Cultural exchanges and people-to-people interactions have kept deepening. Thirty-five cultural institutions from ten African countries have joined the Silk Road International League of Theaters, the International Alliance of Museums of the Silk Road, the Silk Road International Arts Festival, and the Silk Road International Library Alliance. The China-Africa Youth Festival, the Forum on China-Africa Local Government Cooperation, the China-Africa Young Leaders Forum, the China-Africa People’s Forum and other events were successfully held. The two sides have twinned up another 11 pairs of provinces/cities, and brought the number of sister cities to 150. Thirty-four African countries and territories have gained Approved Destination Status for organized tours of Chinese citizens, and 60 Africa-related cultural, sports and tourism programs have been launched by China. More and more fine audiovisual products from China have been translated into multiple languages and broadcast in Africa, providing an important window for Africans to learn more about China. Mariatu Kargbo and other African artists, active on the stages in China, enjoy huge popularity among the Chinese people.
Fifth, China-Africa cooperation on peace and security has moved deeper and produced more deliverables. Over the past three years, China has firmly supported the African efforts to find African solutions to African issues. It worked actively to deliver to the AU the pledged military aid worth of US$100 million, plus an additional US$80 million, and earmarked 300 million RMB yuan of them for supporting the G5 Sahel Joint Force. China has promoted the implementation of the China-Africa Peace and Security Fund, surpassed the goal of completing 50 security assistance programs, and provided equipment, materials, training and other forms of assistance to Africa’s efforts in maintaining peace and stability. The first China-Africa Peace and Security Forum and the Dialogue on the Implementation of China-Africa Peace and Security Initiative were successfully held, which provided new platforms for closer exchanges and cooperation on peace and security. China has actively encouraged the UN to increase support for peacekeeping operations in Africa. China is the second largest contributor to the UN peacekeeping budget, and about 75 percent of its contributions are channeled to operations in Africa. China is actively involved in UN peacekeeping missions in Africa. Currently, around 1,800 Chinese peacekeepers are deployed in five UN missions on the continent, making Chinese contributions to the peacekeeping cause in Africa.
Sixth, FOCAC has generated a sustained positive impact. In the 21 years since its founding, FOCAC has embraced the world trend of peace, development and win-win cooperation, and contributed enormously to the solidarity, friendship, common development, cooperation and people-to-people friendship between China and Africa. It has become a banner taking the lead in international cooperation with Africa, a forefunner in practicing multilateralism, and a fine example of pursuing mutual benefit. Its exemplary role has continued to grow, making the international community invest more in Africa and giving an impetus to Africa’s effort for lasting peace and sustainable development. In November last year, we celebrated the 20th anniversary of FOCAC, and charted its future course in continuing to take the lead in pursuing innovative growth of China-Africa relations in a new era.
With the concerted efforts of both sides, FOCAC has steadily improved its institutional development. The two sides held the Coordinators’ Meeting on the Implementation of the Follow-up Actions of FOCAC Beijing Summit, which brought the two sides together to share ideas, coordinate actions and build consensus in pursuit of high-quality cooperation and sustainable growth of their cooperation. The 14th and 15th Meetings of Senior Officials were successfully held. The Chinese Follow-up Committee and the African diplomatic corps in China have held four rounds of consultations to ensure the efficiency of FOCAC. The sub-forums on agriculture, poverty reduction, peace and security, think tanks, media, youth, people-to-people ties, and sub-national cooperation have become more mature, and have assumed various forms of collaboration. They have further broadened and deepened China-Africa cooperation across the board and served as bridges of China-Africa friendship.
The important achievement in China-Africa cooperation and FOCAC’s development in the past three years is the result of the joint efforts by all members to stand up to the challenges in the FOCAC spirit of extensive consultation, joint contribution, and shared benefits. It demonstrated our common aspiration and strong determination for stronger solidarity and closer cooperation under the new circumstances. It also displayed the remarkable resilience and vitality of China-Africa cooperation in face of the unique challenge of COVID-19.
Achievements in the past are hard-won and valuable, but what awaits ahead is even more promising. We have harvested not just fruitful results from our cooperation, but also greater confidence and motivation. Let us learn from past experience, build strategic consensus, further improve the quality of our cooperation, and elevate our mutually beneficial cooperation and common development to higher levels so as to deliver greater benefits to both Chinese and African peoples.
That is my report to this Conference on the implementation of the follow-up actions of the FOCAC Beijing Summit.