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Opinion

China-Africa Cooperation a Vibrant Partnership for Sustainable Development

António Guterres, Secretary-General of the United Nations, in an address to the China-Africa Cooperation Summit in Beijing

BEIJING, Sep 3 2018 (IPS) - This Forum on China-Africa Cooperation is an embodiment of two major priorities of the United Nations: to pursue fair globalization and to promote development that leaves no one behind in the context of a rules-based system of international relations supported by strong multilateral institutions.

António Guterres

China has achieved remarkable development progress in recent years, with an unprecedented reduction in poverty, and I commend its commitment to sharing its successes through different initiatives and namely the Belt and Road.

Africa, too, has made dramatic advances, and hosts some of the world’s most dynamic economies. Together, China and Africa can unite their combined potential for peaceful, durable, equitable progress to the benefit of all humankind.

It is important that current and future development cooperation contributes to peace, security and to building a “community of shared future for mankind.”

China and Africa have strengthened their relationship in recent years, enjoying growing mutual trust and exchanges at all levels.

Development cooperation is increasing, based on the two mutually compatible roadmaps: the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the African Union’s Agenda 2063.

I commend this engagement. Cooperation, based on the principles of the UN Charter, can benefit your peoples and can benefit the international community as a whole.

And allow me to mention five areas that will be crucial for the success of this very important partnership.

First, reinforcing the foundations of Africa’s progress. Stronger cooperation between China and Africa can lead to sustainable, environmentally-friendly and resilient development in Africa that is inclusive, reaching first those people that are furthest behind. Financial and technological support for infrastructure development is critical.

So is building capacity on trade as African countries start to realize the potential of the landmark Continental Free Trade Area. And they’re also ready to support the strengthening national data systems to help African countries formulate policy and drive decision-making.

Second, ensuring national ownership and African-led sustainable development.

In the past year, the United Nations has agreed joint frameworks with the African Union on Peace and Security and on supporting Agenda 2063.

These frameworks are based on our commitment to be a steadfast and trusted partner of Africa, with full respect for Africa’s stewardship of its own future.

The China-Africa partnership echoes this collaborative approach to create not just immediate gains but long-lasting value.

And we are ready to support the strengthening of governance and institutional capacities in African countries to ensure country ownership and leadership that fully responds to the needs and aspirations of Africa’s people.

Of particular concern are education and job opportunities for young people, and equality and empowerment for the continent’s women and girls.

Third, deepening South-South cooperation.

I believe this Summit will contribute to preparations for the United Nations Conference on South-South Cooperation in Buenos Aires next year.

South-South cooperation is fundamental for fair globalization. But the dramatic increase in South-South cooperation does not eliminate the need to implement North-South commitments, including those assumed in the context of the Addis Ababa Action Agenda.

We need to ensure that cooperation paves the way for Africa’s economic vitality and greater trade, both at regional and global levels.
Partnership for sustainable development must also give more space for African voices, innovations and perspectives in global development discourse around the world.

Fourth, promoting sustainable fiscal policies.

United Nations Country Teams are fully committed to supporting African nations to seize their full potential of their cooperation with China.

At the same time, we all need to work together to guarantee the financial sustainability of African development.

Sound fiscal policies are an essential pillar for sustainable development. It is imperative that we support Africa to both preserve and create fiscal space for investments.

That includes a concerted global effort to combat tax evasion, money laundering and illicit financial flows allowing to contribute to the success to the strong African commitment to fight corruption as agreed at the African Union Summit in early January 2018.

Fifth, climate change.

Climate change is an existential threat. A sustainable future for China, Africa and the world means climate-friendly and climate-resilient development as it was underlined today by President Xi Jinping.

As we are increasingly aware, climate change and environmental degradation are risk multipliers, especially for fragile states and vulnerable regions.

China is today a global leader in climate solutions.

It is important that it shares its advances with Africa to enable the continent to leapfrog traditional polluting development in favour of green growth.

And also ,to support Africa in adapting to climate change and in building resilience to the impacts that Africans have done so little to cause.

This Summit exemplifies the win-win collaboration that is necessary for the future we want.

The United Nations will continue to support the China-Africa Partnership and more broadly, South-South cooperation, so that all nations – in Africa and beyond – may enjoy sustainable and inclusive development.

 
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