Highlighting the economic and development progress made in China and Africa, United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres urged them to unite their combined potential for peaceful, sustainable and equitable progress to the benefit of all humankind.
Speaking at the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation, in Beijing, Secretary-General Guterres underscored that it is vital 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,” he said.
“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.”
In his remarks, the UN chief also noted that development cooperation between them is increasing, based on the two mutually compatible roadmaps: the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the African Union’s (AU) Agenda 2063.
Cooperation, based on the principles of the UN Charter […] can benefit the international community as a whole – Secretary-General Guterres
In that context, he highlighted five areas, explaining that these will be crucial for the success of the partnership between China and Africa. These included reinforcing the foundations of Africa’s progress given that stronger cooperation can help achieve sustainable and resilient development in the continent that is inclusive, reaching first those people that are furthest behind.
The Secretary-General also called for ensuring national ownership and African-led sustainable development. He noted the frameworks agreed between the UN and the AU on peace and security, as well as 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,” said Mr. Guterres.
Noting the importance of South-South cooperation as “fundamental for fair globalization,” the Secretary-General also highlighted the need to implement North-South commitments, including those assumed in the context of the Addis Ababa Action Agenda on financing for development.
Mr. Guterres also called for promoting sustainable fiscal policies, underscoring that it is critical that Africa is supported to both preserve and create fiscal space for investments.
Climate change ‘an existential threat’
Further in his remarks, the UN chief also highlighted the existential threat posed by climate change.
“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,” he said noting that the world is getting increasingly aware that climate change and environmental degradation are risk multipliers, especially for fragile states and vulnerable regions.
“China is today a global leader in climate solutions,” he added, urging the country to share its advances with Africa to enable the continent to leapfrog traditional polluting development in favour of green growth.
Concluding his remarks, the Secretary-General said that the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation Summit “exemplifies the win-win collaboration that is necessary for the future we want.”
“The UN 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,” he said.