China and Africa unite to build a community with a shared future
It should be remembered that seven years ago, faced with the backlash against economic globalisation, rising geopolitical instability and non-traditional security challenges, Chinese President Xi Jinping proposed and expounded on the great vision and major initiative of building a community with a shared future for mankind.
President Xi advocated the pursuit of win-win co-operation for common development and building an open, inclusive, clean and beautiful world with lasting peace, common prosperity and universal security by planning together, building together and sharing together.
That great vision has provided an answer to the fundamental question we face: where to for mankind and in which direction should the world go?
If anything, the arduous fight against Covid-19 has made it crystal clear to all that we live in the same global village, that all countries have a stake in one another’s success.
The virus respects no borders, race or social system, and no country can isolate itself from the rest of the world and defeat the virus alone. We need to pool the wisdom and strength of all mankind. It is clear that building a community with a shared future for all mankind has become a more pressing task than ever before.
Bearing in mind that vision of building a global community with a shared future for all, China, despite being the first country to suffer from the Covid-19 pandemic, acting with an open, transparent and responsible attitude, has repeatedly and dutifully informed the international community of the coronavirus and shared the valuable genetic sequence of the virus and its prevention, control and treatment experience, and provided support and assistance to all countries in need at the earliest possible time.
It speaks volumes about the strong sense of responsibility on the part of China as a key player on the international front. During the most difficult time of China’s fight against the Covid-19, leaders of more than 170 countries and heads of more than 50 international and regional organisations expressed sympathy, solidarity and support to China. As many as 79 countries and 10 international organisations extended a helping hand to China’s anti-pandemic efforts.
That clearly demonstrates that nations and organisations across the world have never been so closely connected in terms of common interests and destiny.
Unfortunately, some countries cling to the Cold War mentality of the zero-sum game. They have unambiguously gone all out to politicise and stigmatise the pandemic, shift the blame to China and the World Health Organization. They have even threatened to stop their funding, thus undermining global efforts to fight the pandemic.
Most African countries, sadly, have weak public health systems and inadequate medical resources to cope with the pandemic. China and Africa have always been communities with a shared future. Just as President Xi pointed out in his recent phone call with President Cyril Ramaphosa, China and Africa, now more than ever before, need to unite and fight as one against the pandemic.
China will continue to firmly support Africa’s anti-pandemic efforts, strengthening anti-pandemic co-operation with African countries and building an even closer China-Africa community with a shared future.
First, China continues to join hands with African countries for joint Covid-19 prevention and control in these trying times.
During the most difficult time of China’s fight against Covid-19, many African countries generously lent a helping hand to their Chinese counterparts. More than 50 African leaders, including President Ramaphosa, expressed sympathy and support to China during that difficult epoch.
Notably, numerous South African enterprises and companies including Standard Bank, the Sun International Group and the U-Mask kindly donated, in considerable cash and in kind, to China.
The strong bond of tested friendship and brotherhood of the South African, and African people with the Chinese people will always be remembered and reciprocated by the grateful Chinese nation.
Despite taming the raging epidemic, and bringing it under control but still facing great anti-epidemic pressure at home, China has delivered considerable critical medical supplies to more than 50 African countries and the AU, sent out at least seven teams of medical experts, held nearly 30 video conferences of experts of the two sides, and provided nearly 400 training sessions for African nations.
The Chinese provinces, cities, enterprises as well as the Chinese people have made generous donations to Africa. Notably, Huawei and other Chinese enterprises and communities in South Africa and across Africa have donated in cash and in kind, bringing hope, strength, solidarity and confidence to the people of South Africa and other African countries.
China will continue to provide Africa with more anti-pandemic supplies, as well as technical and human resources support until the Covid-19 pandemic is defeated.
At the 73rd World Health Assembly, President Xi pledged that China would provide $2billion (R34.9bn) over two years to help with the Covid-19 response and economic and social development in affected countries, especially in developing countries.
China is moving to set up a co-operation mechanism for its hospitals to pair up with 30 African hospitals and to accelerate the building of the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention headquarters in a bid to help the continent ramp up its disease preparedness and control capacity.
Second, China will continue to build international consensus and encourage the international community to increase its input in Africa.
No country shall be left behind in the global fight against Covid-19. As long as there is one country suffering from the virus, there will be no absolute security for any other country. While strengthening bilateral anti-pandemic assistance and support to Africa, China will continue to encourage greater international support for Africa through such multilateral mechanisms as the UN, the WHO, the G20 and the trailblazing BRICS bloc.
China will work with the UN to set up a global humanitarian response depot and hub in China, ensure the operation of anti-pandemic supply chains and foster “green corridors” to fast-track transportation and customs clearance. China will work with other G20 members to implement the Debt Service Suspension Initiative for the poorest countries.
China is also ready to work with the international community to bolster support for the hardest-hit countries under the greatest strain of debt service, so that they could tide over the difficulties. Most of the initiatives aim to support African countries and China is ready to join hands with all countries outside Africa which are capable and willing to help Africa to strengthen its public health capacity building and support its fight against the pandemic.
Third, China will assuredly continue to support the central and critical role played by the WHO in promoting global public health governance.
Since the outbreak of Covid-19, the WHO has actively performed its duties and taken an objective and impartial stance to fight the pandemic. It has played an important co-ordinating and leading role in assisting countries, especially the African countries, to respond to the pandemic and promoting international co-operation.
China firmly supports the WHO in playing the leading role in international anti-pandemic co-operation, and has successively contributed sums of $20m and $30m to the WHO to support the prevention and control measures and health system building in African countries and other developing countries.
At this crucial juncture of the international fight against the Covid-19, to support WHO is to support international anti-pandemic co-operation and the battle for saving lives. The international community should increase political and financial support for WHO so as to mobilise greater resources worldwide in a bid to defeat the deadly coronavirus.
China will continue to support the WHO and other organisations in playing a central role in the global public health governance, promote international unity and solidarity to prevail over the pandemic, and build a global community of health for all.
Fourth, China will continue to pursue openness, inclusiveness and win-win co-operation to lead the post-Covid-19 global economic recovery.
The pandemic has undermined the stability of global industrial and supply chains and stoked protectionism, populism and racism.
African countries and other developing countries are facing a more severe external environment. Globalisation is an irresistible historical trend, and the fear of coronavirus should never be an excuse to reject globalisation. We shall advance a more dynamic, inclusive, sustainable and secure globalisation process by following the principle of planning together, building together and sharing together.
Undoubtedly, China aims to co-ordinate better its pandemic prevention and control efforts and its economic and social development.
China will continue to open wider to the outside world and play a constructive role of stabilising the world economy and achieving balanced and inclusive growth in the wake of the pandemic.
China has made a concrete commitment to maintain the stability of the global supply chains, especially the food supply chain, in order to help Africa improve its food security. The Chinese government, under the leadership of President Xi, is committed to achieving harmony between man and nature by strengthening law enforcement co-operation with African countries on wildlife protection so as to preserve the Planet Earth.
Throughout the history of humanity, major crises have always gone hand in hand with great opportunities.
There is also a similar old Chinese saying: “Good fortune follows upon disaster.” Likewise, the threat of the Covid-19 has also provided important opportunities for countries to join hands to fight the pandemic and strengthen solidarity and co-operation to address common challenges.
As President Xi said: “Solidarity and co-operation is the most powerful and effective weapon for the international community to defeat the pandemic.” In the face of the common enemy which is Covid-19, it is the right time for China and South Africa as well as Africa to support each other and join hands to build a closer China-Africa community with a shared future.