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China’s President Xi Commits to Africa Modernization, Amidst a More Just International Order

Printable version / Version imprimable

EIRNS—Speaking at the China-Africa Leaders’ Dialogue on Aug. 24, which followed the Aug. 22-24 BRICS Summit in Johannesburg, South Africa, China’s President Xi Jinping gave an overview and details of upcoming activities and commitments, under the title, “Joining Hands To Advance Modernization and Create a Great Future for China and Africa.” He co-moderated the Leaders’ Dialogue with South African President Cyril Ramaphosa, whose office reports that China initiated the idea for such a roundtable. Presidents Ramaphosa and Xi issued a joint statement.

Xi Jinping expressed his great joy at returning to Africa (his 10th visit), after five years. He praised Africa’s strides on the path of independence, noting that it now was “becoming an important pole with great influence.” While China was moving toward its Second Centenary Goal of building a modern socialist country in all respects, Africa was moving toward the bright prospects envisioned in the African Union’s Agenda 2063. “China and Africa must work together to create a sound environment for realizing our respective development visions,” Xi said. The many institutions he named, through collaboration will progress, are the Belt and Road, the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC), and many African agencies, including the African Union, the AfCFTA Secretariat, the Pan-African Payment and Settlement System, and the African Union of Broadcasting.

President Xi declared:

“To chart the course for our practical cooperation in the next stage and help Africa bring its integration and modernization into a fast track, I wish to make the following three proposals:

“—China will launch the Initiative on Supporting Africa’s Industrialization. China will better harness its resources for cooperation with Africa and the initiative of businesses to support Africa in growing its manufacturing sector and realizing industrialization and economic diversification. In implementing the nine programs under the FOCAC framework, China will channel more resources of assistance, investment and financing toward programs for industrialization.

“—China will launch the Plan for China Supporting Africa’s Agricultural Modernization. China will help Africa expand grain plantation, encourage Chinese companies to increase agricultural investment in Africa, and enhance cooperation with Africa on seed and other areas of agro-technology, to support Africa in transforming and upgrading its agricultural sector. China will host the second Forum on China-Africa Cooperation in Agriculture in Hainan this November.

“To help Africa tackle the current food crisis, China will provide additional emergency food assistance to African countries in need. More importantly, China has confidence that Africa will attain food self-sufficiency through its own efforts.

“—China will launch the Plan for China-Africa Cooperation on Talent Development. China plans to train 500 principals and high-caliber teachers of vocational colleges every year, and 10,000 technical personnel with both Chinese language and vocational skills for Africa. China will invite 20,000 government officials and technicians of African countries to participate in workshops and seminars. To support Africa in strengthening education and innovation, we will launch the China-Africa Universities 100 Cooperation Plan and 10 pilot exchange programs of China-Africa partner institutes.”

President Xi said that China-Africa collaboration involves “working together to promote a just and equitable international order,” opposing “vestiges of colonialism and hegemonism in all forms.” The two sides should also “work together to safeguard a peaceful and secure global environment.... Africa is working unremittingly for the goal of silencing the guns,” he said, referring to Africa’s proposals for peace negotiations between Russia and Ukraine. Thirdly, the two sides should be “working together to build an open and inclusive world economy.”

He went on:

“The world today is undergoing transformation and turmoil, and changes unseen in a century are unfolding at a faster pace. At this point of history, we all face the tasks of how to address the deficit in development, overcome security challenges and enhance mutual learning between civilizations. In view of this, I have put forward the Global Development Initiative, the Global Security Initiative and the Global Civilization Initiative, called for peace, development, cooperation and mutual benefit, and advocated building a community with a shared future for mankind. These proposals have received the extensive support of African countries. China and Africa, through our creative explorations for modernization, are giving our answers to the questions of our times, and making joint efforts to advance the great endeavors of win-win cooperation, harmonious coexistence and shared prosperity of civilizations.”

The African leaders spoke highly of the China-Africa Leaders’ Dialogue and thanked China for supporting African integration and assisting African countries in times of need. They commended China’s new initiatives and expressed support for the Belt and Road Initiative, the Global Development Initiative, the Global Security Initiative and the Global Civilization Initiative put forward by President Xi. In his concluding comments, South African President Cyril Ramaphosa underlined, “Sustained engagement with China as one of the supporters of strategic development projects is critical. ... We have acknowledged the importance of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation as a means of deepening collaboration in the cause of development.”

The next meeting of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation will take place in 2024 in China.