Following his appointment as the New Head of Chinese Mission to the African Union, Ambassador HU Changchu, had a very brief stay with Walta’s Web Site and Social Media Director, Pawlos Belete, about the overall direction of Africa-China Cooperation.
Question: Ambassador HU Changchun, could you please introduce the current status of China-African Union cooperation?
Hu: Under the strategic guidance and in-person promotion of President Xi Jinping and the AU leadership, China-AU strategic partnership continues to deepen. Both sides have always been holding the principle of sincerity, real results, amity and good faith to conduct comprehensive cooperation.
Since the FOCAC Dakar Conference held last November, China and Africa have actively implemented outcomes of the conference, promoted the alignment of the “Nine Programs”, the “Belt and Road” Initiative and the AU’s Agenda 2063. The Cooperation has gained solid results in various fields covering economy, trade, health, disease control, pandemic fighting, security etc.
The first phase of China-aided Africa CDC Headquarters’ construction will be completed by the end of this year and will be delivered to the African side early next year. China has actively provided support on capacity building to the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) Secretariat. The China-Africa Expert Group on Economic Cooperation held its first meeting to promote China-Africa economic, trade and investment facilitation cooperation.
Since the outbreak of COVID, China has provided a large number of anti-pandemic materials and vaccines to African countries and the AUC. The major measures announced by President Xi Jinping to support the construction of the African standby force and the cause of peace and security of Africa have also been effectively implemented.
Here I also want to tell you good news. In early September, China and AUC will jointly hold “Talk with Taikonauts” event. Three Chinese astronauts currently on the Chinese space station will connect with the African Youth to answer their questions. African youth and friends from media are welcome to follow our Mission’s Twitter and Facebook accounts for more details.
Question: The recent Russia-Ukraine War has caused international commodity shortage in a number of countries. The Crisis has severely challenged Africa’s food security. What measures China has taken to help Africa cope with the food crisis?
Hu: Food security is about social stability and people’s wellbeing. China attaches great importance to strengthening food security cooperation with Africa. It has been providing emergency food aid to African countries in need. At the beginning of this year, China provided a batch of emergency food aid to Ethiopia, Eritrea, Djibouti and Somalia in order to support them to cope with drought.
China not only supports African countries in alleviating the urgent need for food shortages, but also supports Africa’s independent response to food security through China-Africa agricultural cooperation. The Chinese side is accelerating the implementation of the “Poverty Reduction and Agricultural Development Program” announced by President Xi Jinping at last year’s FOCAC Conference, implementing 10 poverty reduction and agricultural projects for Africa, and assisting Africa’s agricultural infrastructure construction.
Earlier this month, Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi put forward China’s Cooperation Initiative on Global Food Security at the G20 Foreign Ministers’ Meeting, calling on the international community to facilitate the entry of agricultural products and inputs from countries like Russia and Ukraine into the international market, and help developing countries enhance their capacity for food production, storage and loss reduction in terms of capital, technology, market and others.
Question: Peace and security have always been one of the most important issues in Africa. Could you please brief us on China’s assistance to Africa in dealing with the peace and security challenges Africa has been facing?
Hu: History has repeatedly proved that without peace, development is water without a source; without security, prosperity is a tree without roots. President Xi Jinping solemnly proposed Global Security Initiative at the opening ceremony of the Boao Forum for Asia in April this year. The initiative emphasizes that security and stability are the prerequisites for the development of a nation, and calls on all parties to insist on peacefully resolving differences and disputes through dialogue and consultation.
Just last month, the Horn of Africa Peace Conference was held in Addis Ababa. This is an important measure for China and all parties in the Horn of Africa to jointly promote the “Initiative of Peaceful Development in the Horn of Africa” proposed by China.
As a good friend and good partner of African countries, China will continue to actively contribute Chinese wisdom and strength to African peace and development, support African countries’ solidarity and self-improvement, and their efforts in achieving long-term stability, development and prosperity.
Question: In recent years, more and more countries outside our region are stepping up their cooperation with Africa. However, some are skeptical about China’s cooperation with Africa. They think that Africa is in a “debt trap” because of its cooperation with China. What do you think of this?
Hu: Africa’s international status is increasing day by day, and the international community is paying more attention to it and investing more in Africa’s development. That is a good thing for Africa. China is always happy to see the diversity of African partners, and hopes that Africa will receive more tangible support. China also holds an open attitude towards trilateral cooperation with other international partners in Africa.
Regrettably, out of Cold War mentality and ideological prejudice some western countries continue to make untrue remarks to smear China in an attempt to suppress the development of Chinese-funded enterprises and alienate the relations of Chinese and African people. Africa is not an Arena for Superpower Games but a Major Stage for International Cooperation. China always respects the will of African people and conduct cooperation based on the actual needs of Africa.
So far, Chinese companies have built over 10,000 kilometers of railway, up to 100,000 kilometers of roads, nearly 1,000 bridges and almost 100 ports in Africa, as well as numerous power facilities and industrial parks. China’s financing support for Africa focuses on development and people’s livelihood. It is genuinely good debt and financing for good will, and there is no so-called “debt trap” at all. As the saying goes, the man who comes to accuse others is usually the wrongdoer himself.
The great achievements of China-Africa friendship and win-win cooperation represent the hard work and dedication of thousands of Chinese and African workers. Any lies that slander China-Africa cooperation will be self-defeating and thrown into the garbage heap of history.
Question: As the new Head of Chinese Mission to the African Union, what is your outlook for the development of China-Africa relations and China-AU relations?
Hu: China-Africa relation possesses a long-standing and well-established history and enjoys a bright future. China will continue to overcome the impact of the pandemic and promote exchanges in various fields and at all levels. It will align the joint construction of the “Belt and Road” Initiative, the Global Development Initiative with the AU’s Agenda 2063 and the development strategies of African countries, and promote “Nine Programs” of FOCAC to achieve more early harvest.
China will speed up the construction of the Africa CDC Headquarters, continue to support AfCFTA and Africa integration, and help Africa better cope with challenges such as peace and security, food crisis and climate change. As the largest developing country and the continent with the largest number of developing countries, China and Africa will jointly promote greater democracy in international relations and the reform of global governance system.
My colleagues and I will strengthen communication and coordination with African friends from all fields, carry forward China-Africa friendship, promote comprehensive cooperation, and make continuous efforts to build a community with a shared future for China-Africa in the new era.