By He Yin
On May 19, at the initiative of China, which holds the rotating presidency of the UN Security Council (UNSC) this month, the Security Council held an Open Debate on “Peace and Security in Africa: Addressing Root Causes of Conflict in Post-Pandemic Recovery in Africa” via video link.
A presidential statement of the UN Security Council drafted by China was unanimously approved at the meeting. The presidential statement stressed, the UNSC is seriously concerned about the devastating impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on Africa’s economic, political, security and humanitarian spheres, and its exacerbation of conflict in Africa. A multi-pronged approach and concerted efforts are required to promote the realization of sustainable economic growth and development, poverty reduction and other goals, and to cement the foundation of peace.
The meeting would build consensus and synergy, and inject new impetus to Africa’s lasting peace and sustainable development.
Since the outbreak of the pandemic, African countries have suffered severe impacts, facing huge missions and challenges in fighting the virus, stabilizing economy and ensuring livelihood. UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said that the pandemic is feeding many of the drivers of conflict and instability in Africa, and many communities and countries on the African continent already face a complex peace and security environment.
How to help Africa build a line of defense against the pandemic and advance common development on the continent is a test for international equity and justice, as well as human conscience.
China and Africa are good brothers, good friends and good partners. On the meeting, China proposed to help Africa bridge the “pandemic divide,” solve the “peace deficit,” narrow the “development gap,” and refine “unfair governance,” receiving high appraisal from each party concerned.
Facts once again proved that China is always firmly standing together with Africa on achieving peaceful development for the continent.
China has always been a firm supporter of Africa’s fight against the pandemic. The country is actively implementing the measures announced by Chinese President Xi Jinping at the 73rd World Health Assembly and the outcomes of the Extraordinary China-Africa Summit on Solidarity Against COVID-19, supporting Africa in its fight against the virus, and working with Africa to build a China-Africa community of health for all.
Forty-six Chinese medical teams based in Africa stood up to the challenge instantly to support local response efforts; China has sent 15 ad hoc medical expert teams to Africa and swiftly set up a cooperation mechanism for Chinese hospitals to pair up with 43 African hospitals. China has been, and is, providing vaccines to over 30 African countries on the basis of their urgent need. China’s timely assistance has won sincere compliment from African countries.
China has always been an active participant in Africa’s development and revitalization. After the outburst of the pandemic, China has fully implemented the G20 Debt Service Suspension Initiative, signed or reached agreement with 16 African countries on debt service suspension, and canceled the debts of 15 African countries in the form of interest-free government loans that were due to mature by the end of 2020 within the framework of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation. Despite the pandemic, over 1,100 cooperation projects have kept going and nearly 100,000 Chinese technicians and engineers worked dutifully under the limitations caused by COVID-control.
China has always been a strong upholder of Africa’s peace and stability. At present, there are 2,043 Chinese peacekeepers in Africa, safeguarding peace on the continent. With major changes and a global pandemic unseen in a century, and facing the rising unilateralism, protectionism and power politics, China will keep speaking up for Africa in the UN, urge parties concerned to respect the sovereignty of the continent, respect African countries’ choices for their development paths, and respect their rights to equally participate in international affairs.
China and Africa have always been a community with a shared future. There sincere friendship becomes even more solid in hardships. China will firmly safeguard and practice multilateralism, and work with the international society to play a positive role in promoting peaceful development in Africa, which is also a contribution to global peace and development.