China's vision of building a community with a shared future for mankind

By Stephen Ndegwa
0 Comment(s)Print E-mail, February 28, 2021
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Workers unload COVID-19 vaccines donated by China at Robert Mugabe International Airport in Harare, Zimbabwe, on Feb. 15, 2021. [Photo/Xinhua]

It is now uncontroversial to say that the future of humankind is intertwined regardless of the status of individual entities. The COVID-19 pandemic has further proved that the international community is a family that shares weal and woe. Given the current problems and challenges, especially in the face of the ongoing global health crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, what should countries across the globe do to move forward? 

China has offered its answer. On several occasions, the country has explained its vision of building a community with a shared future for mankind, and called for the international community to work together to achieve mutually beneficial and win-win development. 

This vision is one of the cornerstones of China's foreign policy in the new era, which underlines China's cooperative approach in various areas, including trade, climate change and security. It also reflects China's expectations and vision for its desired future world. 

China is the world's largest developing country, and Africa is home to the largest number of developing countries. With past experiences and a common mission, China and Africa have helped each other and embarked on a distinctive path of win-win cooperation by seizing the opportunities presented by the Belt and Road Initiative, so as to turn China-Africa cooperation into a pacesetter for building a community with shared future for mankind.

The Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) celebrated its 20th anniversary last year. Over the past two decades, China has implemented 10 cooperation plans and eight major initiatives with African countries. Under the framework of the FOCAC, a large number of infrastructure projects, such as railways, highways, airports and ports, as well as economic and trade cooperation zones have been established in countries across the continent. 

At the opening ceremony of the 2018 FOCAC Beijing Summit, China made cooperation on health care a priority area, pledging to offer more support and assistance to help African countries build hospitals and promote exchanges and information cooperation on public health. 

Since the COVID-19 pandemic, millions of people in Africa became further marginalized by economic downturns and lockdowns due to the acute weakness of their health systems. China has signed debt service suspension agreements with 12 African countries and provided waivers of matured interest-free loans for 15 African countries to mitigate the negative effect of the pandemic. 

China also rebuked so-called vaccine nationalism by carrying out extensive international vaccine cooperation and acting on its promise of offering its vaccines as a global public good to ensure vaccine accessibility and affordability in developing countries. It is providing vaccine aid to 53 developing countries. In Africa, Zimbabwe and Senegal have received Chinese vaccines, and more are expected to reach Namibia, Ethiopia and Algeria in the coming days.

China's pledges and actions have become a strong illustration of its unwavering resolve to work with Africa to achieve a shared goal of building an international community with a shared future. They are also a demonstration of China's strong sense of responsibility to work with the rest of the world to advance common goals. 

Confronted by rising uncertainties and global challenges, only with solidarity and cooperation can countries achieve lasting stability and development. In 2021, officials from China and Africa will gather in Senegal for further FOCAC meetings. More positive outcomes are expected to be achieved, and the China-Africa partnership will further benefit the Chinese and African people so as to build a stronger shared future between China and Africa.

Stephen Ndegwa is a Nairobi-based communication expert, lecturer-scholar at the United States International University-Africa, author and international affairs columnist. 

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