4. An Exemplary Model for World Development and Cooperation
When China-Africa cooperation thrives, South-South cooperation will flourish. When China and Africa are fully developed, the world will be a better place. Cooperation in the new era is the sure way for China and Africa to realize common development. It will lay more solid foundations for building an even stronger China-Africa community of shared future, and build up strong momentum for the rise of developing countries as a whole, and for more balanced international relations.
Under the combined impact of the pandemic, a scale of change unseen in a century, and a sharp conflict between multilateralism and unilateralism, the global governance system is facing profound and unprecedented challenges. China sees Africa as a broad stage for international cooperation rather than an arena for competition among major countries. China-Africa cooperation has never been a case of talk and no action. It is a case of bringing tangible benefits to people in China and Africa, and creating more favorable conditions for others in the international community to conduct cooperation with Africa. In the new era, through solidarity and cooperation, the peoples of China and Africa will set an example in increasing the wellbeing of humanity, creating a new type of international relations, and building a global community of shared future.
II. All-Round China-Africa Cooperation in the New Era
China and Africa trust each other and China-Africa friendship is rock-solid. China is committed to consolidating China-Africa political mutual trust, expanding pragmatic cooperation with Africa in various areas, and extending its help to boost peace and development in the continent. China has always been on the forefront of international cooperation with Africa. After years of dedicated efforts, the tree of China-Africa cooperation has flourished – it is tall and strong, and cannot be shaken by any force. China-Africa friendship is in its prime. The fruitful results of China-Africa cooperation can be seen across the continent. It has improved the conditions for economic and social development in Africa and brought tangible benefits to people in both China and Africa.
1. Mutual Political Trust
Since the founding of the PRC in 1949, China and African countries have always been good friends who stand together through prosperity and adversity, good partners who share weal and woe, and good comrades who fully trust each other in a shifting international landscape. In 2006, the FOCAC Beijing Summit decided to establish a new type of China-Africa strategic partnership. In 2015, the FOCAC Johannesburg Summit decided to build a China-Africa comprehensive strategic and cooperative partnership. In the 2018 FOCAC Beijing Summit, the two sides agreed to build an even stronger China-Africa community of shared future, raising China-Africa relations to a new level.
High-level exchanges play an important role in developing China-Africa relations. State leaders of the two sides value communication and coordination on bilateral relations and major issues of common interest. Their exchanges have laid solid political groundwork for consolidating traditional friendship, increasing mutual political trust, safeguarding common interests, and pursuing development and cooperation. In March 2013, President Xi Jinping visited Africa, his first official overseas visit after assuming the office of president. To date he has made four visits to different locations across the continent. During the 2018 FOCAC Beijing Summit, President Xi had one-on-one meetings with more than 50 African leaders, renewing friendships, exploring cooperation, and discussing the future. He also attended close to 70 bilateral and multilateral events. After the FOCAC Beijing Summit in 2018, 17 African leaders came to China for state visits or meetings. Following the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic, state leaders of the two sides have maintained contacts and communication via video and phone calls. In June 2020, President Xi Jinping presided over the Extraordinary China-Africa Summit on Solidarity Against Covid-19 via video link. Thirteen African leaders and chairperson of the AU Commission attended the summit. Since the pandemic struck, President Xi has talked by phone with African state leaders on 17 occasions, maintaining close high-level contacts and exchanges with his African counterparts. President Xi has always treated African friends as equals, and fostered solid friendships and profound trust with African leaders. This head-of-state diplomacy has guided China-Africa relations to steady and sustained prosperity.
China and Africa consistently work to diversify and improve intergovernmental dialogue, consultation and cooperation mechanisms. They make the most of the coordinating role of the mechanism to promote all-round development of China-Africa cooperation in various areas. China has established a comprehensive strategic and cooperative partnership with nine African countries, a comprehensive strategic partnership with three, a strategic partnership with six, and a comprehensive cooperative partnership with seven. China has set up bi-national commissions and diplomatic consultation or strategic dialogue mechanisms with 21 African countries and the AU Commission, and joint (mixed) committees on trade and economic cooperation with 51 African countries. In 2016, China and the AU established a consultation mechanism on human rights. In 2017, China established the High-Level People-to-People Exchange Mechanism with South Africa, the first of its kind between China and an African country. China-Africa cooperation at the local level is flourishing. The two sides have held four cooperation forums between local governments since 2012. There are currently 160 pairings of sister provinces/cities between China and African countries, 48 of which have been established since 2013.
China and African countries conduct close exchanges between political parties, legislative bodies and consultative bodies, building multi-level, multi-channel, multi-form and multi-dimensional friendly cooperation. The Communist Party of China expands exchanges and cooperation with political parties in African countries based on the principles of independence, equality, mutual respect and non-interference in each other's internal affairs. It is committed to building a new type of relations between political parties in which different political parties seek common ground while setting aside differences, and they respect and learn from each other. The two sides make full use of the positive role of legislation and supervision to provide policy support for bilateral cooperation and exchanges. The National People's Congress of China has established mechanisms for regular exchanges with parliaments in Egypt, South Africa and Kenya, and bilateral friendship groups with parliaments in 35 African countries. The National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) and its subsidiary organs maintain contacts with 59 institutions in 39 African countries. In June 2019, the CPPCC National Committee established the China-Africa Friendship Group, the first of its kind in the history of the CPPCC.
Over the past years, more African countries have joined the extended family of China-Africa friendship. China restored ambassadorial-level diplomatic relations with The Gambia on March 17, 2016, with Sao Tome and Principe on December 26, 2016, and with Burkina Faso on May 26, 2018. China now has diplomatic relations with 53 African countries, with the sole exception of Eswatini.
China has been active in developing cooperation with the AU and African sub-regional organizations. The AU Conference Center, which was built with Chinese assistance, was inaugurated in January 2012. It was the second-largest project in Africa to be built with China's assistance after the Tanzania-Zambia Railway. In 2014, China sent a mission to the AU, marking a new stage of China-AU relations. China values the AU's leading role in advancing African integration and building a stronger African continent through unity, and supports its dominant role in safeguarding peace and security in Africa. China also supports the AU in playing a bigger role in regional and international affairs, adopting Agenda 2063, and executing the First Ten-Year Implementation Plan.
In a capacity of observer, China has attended the summit of many African sub-regional organizations including the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), the Southern African Development Community (SADC), the East African Community (EAC), and the Intergovernmental Authority on Development and the Economic Community of Central African States. China has sent ambassadors to the ECOWAS, SADC and EAC.