Pretoria - China and Africa should, along with other developing countries, speak with louder voices on international issues and safeguard the common interests of developing countries.
These were some of the ideas and suggestions that emanated from the meeting between South African scholars and His Excellency Wu Peng, the director-general for African Affairs at the Embassy of the People’s Republic of China.
The meeting held at the Chinese embassy in Pretoria under the theme: “New Era China and Africa Co-operation” saw him discussing Africa’s future. He spoke alongside Elizabeth Sidiropoulos, the chief executive of the South African Institute of International Affairs; David Monyae, the director of the Centre for Africa-China Studies at the University of Johannesburg; as well as other senior researchers.
The director-general said the Covid-19 pandemic and other global changes meant that China and Africa had even more reasons to join hands and co-operate closely.
He said more than anything, politically speaking, it was important for developing countries such as China and Africa to raise their voices on international issues and safeguard the common interests of developing countries, but most importantly to unite under frameworks such as BRICS+, the G77, and the Non-Aligned Movement.
Through these platforms, he said, developing countries should look to setting the agenda of global affairs for Africa and other developing countries on its own.
“Economically, China and Africa should together with other developing countries express firm opposition against irresponsible politicising, weaponising or marginalising of normal trade and economic activities. We need to say no to segmenting the international trading system by ideology and urge developed countries to fulfil pledges of providing development assistance and uphold an inclusive trading system.”
“On peace and security, both Africa and China need to oppose the ‘I win, you lose’ Cold War mentality and refuse exclusive small blocs and rather seek to promote the vision of common, comprehensive, co-operative and sustainable security as envisaged by the United Nations Charter.”
Meanwhile, Monyae said that, by and large, although fragmented and varied, African countries and people were not in favour of the current war between Ukraine and Russia.
He said that, more than anything, concerns were around the weaponisation of certain global public goods and sanctions imposed, which brought in more contradictions and challenges, and posed even more danger to the continent. “The threat of war or threat of violence is worrying as it gives off the fear that these will be the methods used in the absence of consensus as it faces the Ukraine/Russia War and the aftermath.”