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Ambassador Liu Yuxi: Twenty years through thick and thin, Hand in hand to promote development- Written on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the African Union
2022-02-28 20:47

On February 28, The Ethiopian media Walta published a signed article titled Twenty years through thick and thin, Hand in hand to promote development-Written on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the African Union, written by Ambassador LIU Yuxi, Head of Mission of China to the African Union. The full text is as follows:

This year marks the 20th anniversary of the founding of the African Union. Recently, the 35th AU Summit was successfully concluded, and a series of important measures aimed at stimulating the economic, social and political development of the African continent were adopted. Chinese President Xi Jinping carried on the tradition and once again sent a congratulatory message to the AU summit for its 20th anniversary, reflecting the unbreakable and everlasting friendship between China and the AU.

The predecessor of the AU was the Organization of African Unity (OAU), which was established on May 25, 1963. In July 2002, the African Union held its first summit, officially replacing the OAU and becoming the most representative and authoritative intergovernmental organization in Africa. Holding high the banner of building a stronger African continent through unity over the past 20 years, the AU has been actively exploring development paths suited to African conditions. It has made significant achievements in African integration, actively mediated hotspot issues in Africa, vigorously safeguarded peace, security, stability and development of Africa, stimulated African countries to ‘speak with one voice’ in international affairs, and spearheaded the continuous rise of Africa’s international influence and standing.

The AU is also an important partner of China to jointly build a high-level China-Africa community with a shared future and safeguard international fairness and justice. China is the largest developing country in the world, and Africa is the continent with the largest number of developing countries. Shared past experiences, common history of struggle and similar development goals have brought China and Africa close together. China and Africa have always been a community of shared future. China and the OAU had forged a profound friendship in the struggle against imperialism, colonialism and in the fight for national independence and liberation. Since the founding of the AU, China-AU relations have reached a new stage. The two sides have frequently exchanged high-level visits. In 2008, the China-AU Strategic Dialogue was established, and our political mutual trust has continued to deepen. In 2012, the China-aided AU Headquarter building was completed, becoming a new monument of China-Africa cooperation. In 2015 and 2018,  the Chinese Mission to the AU and the AU Representative Office in Beijing were respectively launched, further consolidating our bilateral relationship.

In recent years, the friendship and cooperation between China and the AU have reached a new level. After the outbreak of COVID-19, China and the AU helped each other and fight side by side to defeat the pandemic through solidarity and cooperation. In February 2020, the AU issued a communiqué in support of China’s anti-pandemic efforts, being the first international organization to offer China such support. China has provided more than 100 batches of medical supplies to African countries and the AU. The China-aided African CDC headquarters project phaseⅠstarted construction ahead of schedule at the end of 2020, and was topped-out at the end of last year. China has been Africa’s largest trading partner for 12 consecutive years. During the pandemic, more than 1,100 bilateral projects in Africa remained in operation, helping Africa stabilize and recover its economy. The signing of the Memorandum of Understanding for the establishment of the coordination mechanism by China and the AU marks that the China-Africa joint construction of the Belt and Road Initiative has entered a new phase of implementation, injecting new impetus into China-Africa win-win cooperation and common development.

The COVID-19 did not stop the solid pace of China-Africa cooperation and China-Africa friendship and cooperation shine even brighter in the new era. Last November, the 8th Ministerial Conference of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) was successfully held. At the meeting, President Xi Jinping announced the ‘nine programs’ for future cooperation with Africa. He and the African leaders participating in the meeting unanimously supported the building a China-Africa community with a shared future in the new era, drawing a blueprint for China’s cooperation with Africa in the next three years. China solemnly promised to provide another 1 billion doses of vaccines to Africa and to help Africa strengthen capacity building in public health. The FOCAC has been pressing the ‘accelerator button’ for China-Africa relations, leading China-AU cooperation to higher levels. The vigorous development of China-Africa relations echoes the development and growth of the AU, which strengthens the power of developing countries and enhances the voice of China and Africa on the international stage.

At present, the profound changes unseen in a century and the pandemic of the century are intertwined and resonated while multilateralism and unilateralism are fighting fiercely. The global governance system is undergoing unprecedented profound adjustments. Developing countries, including African countries, are facing multiple political, economic and social challenges. The implementation of the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development is facing severe tests. Confronting with challenges and tests, no country can stand alone. United response and common development are the only way to achieve rejuvenation. President Xi Jinping reviewed the whole situation with foresight and put forward  the Global Development Initiative (GDI), a grand international cooperation initiative, at the UN General Assembly. GDI aims to put development issues at the center of global cooperation, urge the international community to pay close attention to the special situation of developing countries including African countries, and collectively respond to new challenges brought about by COVID-19 and new situation of global development. After the initiative was put forward, it has received enthusiastic responses from African countries and the international community. China welcomes the AU and African countries to join the initiative, and is willing to further synergize GDI with AU Agenda 2063. GDI will become another powerful booster to promote China-Africa cooperation and play a positive role in Africa’s economic recovery and sustainable development.

History and reality have proved that China-Africa relations did not develop in a day, nor were they bestowed by others. Instead, China and Africa have stood together through thick and thin for a long time, and the relations have come out one step at a time. The majestic strength of the 2.7 billion people in China and Africa is unstoppable, and the future of China-Africa relations will be infinitely bright with the concerted efforts of both sides. In the future, the giant ship of China-Africa cooperation will take the 20th anniversary of the founding of the AU as a new starting point and sail to our common development, common prosperity and common welfare!

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