|Practice True Multilateralism and Galvanize Strong Support For Africa's Development|
Remarks by H.E. Wang Yi
Beijing, 19 May 2021
I thank His Excellency Secretary-General António Guterres, Chairperson Moussa Faki Mahamat of the African Union Commission, and Administrator Achim Steiner of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) for their remarks and briefings.
The world is undergoing the most serious pandemic in a century. No country is a fantasy-land that can insulate itself from the virus, and no country should be left behind in the global response effort.
The purpose of China's proposal for this open debate is to urge the international community to pay attention to the severe challenges brought about by the pandemic to the peace and development in Africa, build consensus, and form synergy. It is aimed at getting the international community to work with African countries to defeat the virus, set off post-pandemic reconstruction, remove root causes of conflicts, and galvanize momentum towards lasting peace and sustainable development in Africa. China would like to offer four proposals.
First, help Africa reduce the gap in COVID response. Africa is a crucial part in the global fight against COVID-19. What is pressing at the moment is to put up a line of defense against the virus in Africa. To this end, the international community should give Africa more assistance in terms of medical supplies, medicines, technology and funding. In particular, it should make vaccines accessible and affordable in Africa through various means such as providing grants, favorable purchases, technology transfer, and co-production. We call on the countries with the capacity to urgently provide vaccines to Africa. In the long run, the international community should help Africa enhance its public health capacity-building, strengthen its prevention and control systems, and build a global community of health for all. The United Nations should lead and coordinate in this process.
Second, help Africa tackle the peace deficit. COVID-19 has compounded conflicts and turmoils in some African countries, which have in turn taken a toll on the COVID response across Africa. The UN and the AU should coordinate closely with each other to ensure progress of both initiatives - the Global Ceasefire and Silencing the Guns in Africa. There must be continued support for African countries in seeking African solutions for African problems. Regional and sub-regional organizations in Africa should be encouraged to further play their leading role in securing political settlement and the peace and reconciliation process. It is important to actively channel peacekeeping funding to Africa and give more support to AU peace operations in order to help Africa enhance its capacity of maintaining peace and stability and fighting terrorism.
More attention should be given to the important role of economic growth and social development in promoting peace so as to remove the breeding ground of turbulence. Illegitimate external intervention in African countries must be resolutely rejected so as to prevent more problems and conflicts from happening. Relevant countries should lift ASAP their unilateral sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe, Sudan, and other countries.
Third, help Africa narrow the development gap. Africa is a continent with great potentials and promising prospects. The key is to support Africa in exploring a development path suitable to their national conditions. Developed countries should take real steps on debt relief, development assistance, and technology transfer, and fulfill their due international responsibilities. Development partners should think creatively in light of the realities on the ground, help Africa accelerate the process toward industrialization and modernization, and help improve its capacity of self-sustained development and innovation. In addition, we should actively support connecting the world's industrial and supply chains with Africa, and support the development of the African Continental Free Trade Area. The UN and the AU may step up coordination to synergize the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and Agenda 2063 to ensure a one-plus-one-is-greater-than-two effect.
Fourth, help Africa redress injustice in global governance. In the early days of the UN, only four of its 51 member states at the time were from Africa. Seventy-six years later today, African countries account for 54 seats, or more than a quarter of the UN membership. This is more of a qualitative change than just a quantitative increase for African countries seeking strength through unity. In the 21st century, the UN won't be able to hold its political or moral ground if it fails to pay attention to the peace in Africa, or to help Africa with its development. Without African countries' support or participation, UN undertakings won't be in good shape. Equality of rights, equality of opportunities, and equality of rules won't be achieved if African countries do not have greater representation and a stronger voice. This is what true multilateralism is essentially about.
China is a good brother, good friend and good partner of African countries. China never steps away from anything as long as it is good for African countries. And China never hesitates to undertake anything as long as it is good for the African people.
- China is always a staunch supporter for Africa's fight against COVID-19. In the wake of the pandemic, the 46 Chinese medical teams based in Africa stood up to the challenge instantly to support local response efforts. China has sent 15 ad hoc medical expert teams to Africa and swiftly set up a cooperation mechanism for Chinese hospitals to pair up with 43 African hospitals. They brought containment experience, solutions and supplies to Africa. China has been, and is, providing vaccines to over 30 African countries on the basis of their urgent need.
- China is always an active contributor to Africa's development and rejuvenation. From the Tazara Railway to Belt and Road cooperation, China-Africa cooperation has delivered fruitful results for seven decades. In recent years, China and Africa jointly launched ten major cooperation plans and eight major initiatives, taking the practical cooperation to a new level. China has fully implemented the G20 Debt Service Suspension Initiative, signed or reached agreement with 16 African countries on debt service suspension, and canceled the debts of 15 African countries in the form of interest-free government loans that were due to mature by the end of 2020 within the framework of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation.
- China is always a strong defender of Africa's peace and stability. The Chinese navy fleets have carried out 37 missions to escort vessels passing through the Gulf of Aden. As we speak, 2,043 Chinese peacekeepers are in Africa, working day and night for the peace of the continent. China will continue to speak up for Africa at the UN, and urge all parties to respect African countries' sovereignty, respect the development paths independently chosen by African countries, and respect African countries' right to equal participation in international affairs.
Development is the foundation and the key to resolving all issues. It is the shared responsibility of the international community to support Africa's development. Facing the once-in-a-century pandemic, China and Africa are ready to jointly launch the Initiative on Partnership for Africa's Development. It calls on the international community to give stronger support to Africa in such areas as COVID response and reconstruction, trade and investment, debt relief, food security, poverty alleviation, climate change and industrialization, and put resources to places where Africa has the most urgent need so as to help the continent tide over difficulties and make strides forward. We look forward to more countries and international organizations getting on board, particularly Africa's traditional cooperation partners, in line with the principle of African ownership, equality and openness, in a bid to enhance coordination and cooperation, practice true multilateralism and galvanize strong support for Africa's development.
Africa is an important member of the global family. A peaceful, stable and prosperous Africa will contribute more to human progress. China will continue to stand firmly by the side of our African brothers through all challenges, work with global partners to support Africa's peace and security, and build a community with a shared future for mankind.