Global EditionASIA 中文双语Français
China Daily Global / 2023-09 / 13 / Page013

Revving up with a little help

By YAO GUIMEI | China Daily Global | Updated: 2023-09-13 00:00

Africa's increasing capabilities for autonomous development will enhance its international influence and drive the reform of the global governance system

In the face of profound adjustments in the international landscape and a rising number of global challenges, African countries are increasingly willing and capable of uniting for autonomous development. They have not only remained autonomous in matters related to peace, security, economic and social development on the African continent, but have also made efforts to explore and collectively safeguard African interests on the international stage.

The African Union and African countries are seeking a unified voice when participating in international affairs, in order to enhance Africa's influence through collective strength.

First, the African countries are actively engaging in multilateral diplomacy to increase their say in global governance.

The AU is promoting the reform of the United Nations Security Council, calling for veto power for Africa. Recently, it has been accepted as a permanent member of the G20.

As the host of the 15th BRICS Summit, South Africa invited leaders from more than 60 African countries and the Global South, as well as international and regional organization leaders, including António Guterres, UN Secretary-General, and Dilma Rousseff, president of the New Development Bank. The BRICS Summit has served as a guiding beacon for future global South-South cooperation and advanced global governance toward greater justice and fairness.

Second, the AU is speaking in one voice with the European Union while striving for an equal partnership with Europe. Africa has demonstrated a strong stance in the negotiations for the Post-Cotonou Agreement, repeatedly insisting that EU-Africa ties should evolve from that of aid giver-recipient to equal strategic partnership, so as to achieve the goal of signing stand-alone, Africa-specific agreements with the EU.

During the 6th EU-AU Summit and related negotiations, African countries made strong arguments and have achieved certain results in trade and investment, public health, peace and security, as well as migration.

Third, it is adhering to the spirit of nonalignment and refusing to take sides in the Ukraine crisis. African countries did not yield to US "directives" in two UN votes related to the Ukraine crisis. Faced with the United States Countering Russian Malign Activities Act and the enticements from Europe, African countries used them as negotiation leverage to enhance their strategic autonomy.

In June 2023, African leaders went on a mediation mission to Ukraine and Russia, attempting to help peacefully resolve the crisis. The mission showcased Africa's active participation in global governance and its efforts to enhance influence in international hot-spot issues.

Due to abundant strategic resources and a large number of votes in international organizations, the 54 African countries have become an epicenter for the renewed great power competition. The Ukraine crisis is ostensibly a territorial dispute between Ukraine and Russia, but behind it lies the US manipulation of NATO's eastward expansion targeting Russia. The crisis is a result of the confrontation between the Western powers, led by the US, and Russia.

Africa has maintained the most neutral stance among all continents in the world in the Ukraine crisis. To date, none of the African countries have participated in sanctions against Russia, nor has the AU used sensitive words such as "condemnation "or "invasion" in its official statements. In the two UN General Assembly votes related to the Ukraine issue, the number of African countries that voted in favor was almost the same as those who abstained or did not vote.

Currently, Africa is gaining momentum as an integrated continent, not only increasing its influence in major issues such as UN Security Council reform, climate change and opposition to unilateral sanctions, but also striving to shape a new cooperation paradigm with external partners.

For example, when it comes to summits between Africa and major countries, African leaders have agreed that the AU will decide the specific countries that will represent Africa as one integrated participant. The practice will shift the regional diplomacy model from "one external major country plus N African countries" to "N African countries nominated by the AU plus one external major country". Africa is working to transform its passive international cooperation, and major countries are also expected to make corresponding adjustments.

African countries firmly support multilateralism, strongly identify with the concept of a community of shared future between China and Africa, and are a leading demonstration area for the Belt and Road Initiative. Despite the profound adjustments in the international landscape and the increase in global challenges, Africa's capabilities for autonomous development are on the rise. This will enhance Africa's international influence, drive the reform of the global governance system, and inject fresh energy as China and Africa build a closer community of shared future in the new era.

As a longtime friendly partner of Africa, China should support Africa to overcome its limitations from various aspects, such as top-level design, strategic coordination, resource integration and capacity building, to enhance its self-development capabilities and consolidate the foundation of the China-Africa community of shared future.







The author is a senior research fellow and chief for the Center of Southern Africa Studies at the China-Africa Institute at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences. The author contributed this article to China Watch, a think tank powered by China Daily.

Most Viewed

Copyright 1995 - . All rights reserved. The content (including but not limited to text, photo, multimedia information, etc) published in this site belongs to China Daily Information Co (CDIC). Without written authorization from CDIC, such content shall not be republished or used in any form. Note: Browsers with 1024*768 or higher resolution are suggested for this site.
License for publishing multimedia online 0108263

Registration Number: 130349