Building Consensus for Solidarity and Cooperation and Working Together for a Peaceful and Prosperous Africa
– Remarks at the United Nations Security Council High-level Debate on “Cooperation between the United Nations and Regional and Sub-regional Organizations with a Specific Focus on the United Nations and the African Union”
H.E. Wang Yi, Special Representative of President Xi Jinping and State Councilor and Foreign Minister of the People’s Republic of China
Beijing, 4 December 2020
China supports South Africa’s initiative of convening this high-level debate. We welcome President Ramaphosa’s chairing of the debate and thank Secretary-General Guterres and Chairperson Faki for their briefings.
The COVID-19 pandemic has evolved into and exacerbated the global crises, exerting profound political, economic and social impacts on African countries, and posing a litany of new challenges to peace and security of the continent. The United Nations is duty-bound to take active measures to help Africa weather the storm. China proposes that efforts be made in the following four areas:
First, focusing on a united fight against COVID-19 to help bolster the African people’s health and safety defenses. We need to leverage the UN and the WHO’s coordinating role in mobilizing global resources to support the African Union’s Africa Joint Continental Strategy for COVID-19 Outbreak, and broaden Africa’s access to medical supplies, medicines, therapeutics, technologies and capital. By helping Africa, we will shore up the international efforts against the virus. Vaccines should be a global public good and made accessible and affordable for African countries.
UN agencies such as the World Food Programme (WFP), UN Women and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) can all exert their respective roles to help Africa break the transport bottlenecks, ensure last mile delivery of supplies, medicines and vaccines so that vulnerable groups and people in impoverished and far-flung areas can receive timely and effective medical treatment. It is important to take a long-term view, and support Africa’s efforts to build stronger public health prevention and control systems and better preparedness against major infectious diseases, with a view to building a global community of health for all.
Second, working toward the goal of “Silencing the Guns” to help restore peace and stability for the African people. Seventy percent of the Security Council agenda items are about Africa. Without stability in Africa, world peace would remain elusive. It is thus important that the UN and the AU work closely together to advance the AU’s “Silencing the Guns in Africa” initiative and Secretary-General Guterres’s appeal for a global ceasefire, and to encourage warring parties to focus on the pandemic, beat swords into plowshares and stop fighting and violence.
The Joint UN-AU Framework for Enhanced Partnership in Peace and Security must be earnestly implemented, and cooperation strengthened to prevent and mediate conflicts and achieve enduring peace. The UN Security Council and the AU Peace and Security Council need to build on their annual consultative meeting mechanism to bring their cooperation to a new level.
On its part, the Security Council needs to act on its responsibility of helping Africa by enhancing its independent capabilities on peacekeeping, stability and counter-terrorism, accelerating the establishment of the African Standby Force, the rapid response forces and an early-warning mechanism, and supporting sustainable and predictable financing for the AU’s peace and security operations.
Third, delivering on the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development to help bring broad prosperity to the African people. As set out in the Framework on Implementation of Agenda 2063 and Agenda 2030, the UN and the AU will prioritize poverty eradication, work more closely in areas including agriculture, education, health and infrastructure, and support the African Continental Free Trade Area, mitigate the economic fallout from COVID-19 and improve people’s well-being.
Developed countries should take more concrete steps on Official Development Assistance, debt relief and technological transfer. International financial institutions need to channel more resources and projects to Africa, which is a vibrant and promising continent, as an investment in the future of humankind.
Fourth, promoting fairness and justice to help the African people benefit from the progress of global governance. The global governance system needs to be improved and updated to mitigate inequalities in rights, opportunities and rules. The UN must do more to meet Africa’s needs and accommodate its interests in rules-making, resource allocation and staffing. The representation and voice of African countries should be raised. The African people must be involved as equal participants and important contributors to global governance. After all, no one understands Africa better than African countries themselves; no one offers better solutions to African issues than the African people themselves. The UN, in handling Africa-related issues, needs to respect the will of the African people, enlist the AU and other regional and sub-regional organizations in Africa, and encourage and support Africa’s own initiatives and solutions.
China stands as a true friend of African countries and a partner with common purpose. Guided by the principle of sincerity, real results, amity and good faith, China has put the greater good of African countries above its own interests. We are always ready to play a part as the African people pursue the great dream of development and rejuvenation of their continent.
First, to support Africa’s COVID-19 response, an Extraordinary China-Africa Summit on Solidarity Against COVID-19 has been held under President Xi Jinping’s initiative. The participating leaders of China and Africa have decided to strengthen solidarity and work in unity to defeat the virus. Together, we have set a fine example for international cooperation against COVID-19. China has sent eight teams of medical experts or professionals to share COVID-control experience in 16 African countries. China has set up pairing-up schemes for 46 hospitals in 42 African countries, and has shipped emergency supplies to almost all countries on the continent. The construction of Africa CDC headquarters, a project for which we are glad to provide assistance, will start within this year.
Second, to uphold Africa’s peace and security, China is following through on its pledged free military assistance worth US$ 100 million to the AU and has extended military aid to the Joint Force of the G5 for the Sahel via bilateral and multilateral channels. As we speak, more than 2,100 Chinese peacekeepers are serving in six UN peacekeeping operations in Africa. At the Peace and Development Trust Fund between the UN and China, Africa’s capacity building on peace and security has always been a prime task, as part of the joint efforts for “Silencing the Guns in Africa”.
Third, to promote Africa’s prosperity and development, China has worked with Africa to formulate and implement the ten cooperation plans and the eight major initiatives. Across Africa, China has helped with the construction of over 6,000 kilometers of railways, more than 6,000 kilometers of roads, nearly 20 ports and 80 plus large-scale power plants. China has signed agreements with 12 African countries on debt service suspension, and has canceled interest-free loans owed by 15 African countries due to mature by the end of 2020. China and Africa have been stepping up cooperation in emerging areas such as the digital economy, smart cities, clean energy and 5G. The two sides are also pursuing high-quality Belt and Road cooperation.
China will continue to give its best support to the African people in their pursuit of peace. We are glad to extend a helping hand when African countries are moving toward modernization. China will continue to speak up for Africa on the international stage. In sum, China is prepared to be a partner of Africa and jointly build an even stronger China-Africa community with a shared future.