At the end of December 2023, the Central Conference on Work Relating to Foreign Affairs was held in Beijing, and Mr. Xi Jinping, President of the People’s Republic of China, delivered an important speech in the conference.
President Xi again stressed that building a community with a shared future for mankind is the result of a deepening understanding of the laws governing the development of human society. His speech serves as an answer to questions such as: what kind of a world is to be built? How to build such a world? A community with a shared future for mankind once again became one of the “China keywords” widely discussed in the international community.
What is a community with a shared future for mankind? What role does Africa play in this world? How can all countries in the world realize this vision together? I want to share my understanding with my Nigerian friends.
In summary, to build a community with a shared future for mankind is to build an open, inclusive, clean, and beautiful world of lasting peace, universal security, and shared prosperity; the pathway to this goal is to promote global governance that features extensive consultation and joint contribution for shared benefit; the guiding principle is to apply the common values of humanity, the foundation lies in building a new type of international relations, while the strategic guidance comes from the implementation of the Global Development Initiative, the Global Security Initiative and the Global Civilization Initiative proposed by President Xi Jinping.
The platform for action is high-quality Belt and Road cooperation. On this basis, we seek to work with countries to meet challenges and achieve prosperity for all, and usher in a bright future of peace, security, prosperity and progress for our world.
As the African proverb goes, a single pillar is not sufficient to hold a building. President Xi Jinping also quoted the philosophy of Ubuntu to highlight the interdependence and interconnection of all peoples. This African philosophy of wisdom believes that “I am because we are,” a vivid interpretation of the concept of a community with a shared future for mankind.
A China-Africa community with a shared future is not only an integral part of this concept but also accumulates experience and sets an example for promoting the building of this concept. As early as March 2013, when Mr. Xi Jinping took office as the Chinese president, he visited Africa and solemnly declared that China and Africa would be trustworthy friends and sincere partners forever, stressing that “China and Africa have always been a community with a shared future”. The new chapter of friendship between China and Africa thus began.
Looking back in history, China and Africa have been friends for generations, which has laid the solid foundation for building a China-Africa community with a shared future; focusing on the present, relations between China and Africa are enjoying their best period in history. The two sides rely on the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) and the Belt and Road Initiative to gradually form a comprehensive, multilevel, and multifaceted cooperation framework.
As a result of this cooperation, tangible results have been achieved across the African continent in various areas, improving conditions for economic and social development in Africa while bringing real benefits to both peoples, becoming a persuasive example of international cooperation. Looking ahead, as important members of the Global South, building a China-Africa community with a shared future will help developing countries pursue mutual benefit and win-win cooperation to further promote the joint rise of developing countries, boost global economic recovery, and make the world order fairer.
How can we translate the vision of a community with a shared future for mankind into rewarding practice? China and African countries have worked together to come up with an excellent answer, which is to act as both advocates and practitioners.
In August 2023, at the China-Africa Leaders’ Dialogue held in South Africa, China released the Initiative on Supporting Africa’s Industrialization, the Plan for China Supporting Africa’s Agricultural Modernization, and the Plan for China-Africa Cooperation on Talent Development. The blueprint for China-Africa cooperation was further upgraded and improved, with action plans being more targeted, inclusive, and comprehensive.
The Global Development Initiative (GDI), Global Security Initiative (GSI), and Global Civilization Initiative (GCI) proposed by the Chinese side have received explicit support and positive responses from over 100 countries. In October 2023, Nigerian Vice President Kashim Shettima thanked China for proposing important global cooperation initiatives for developing countries when meeting with President Xi Jinping during his visit to China for the third “Belt and Road” International Cooperation Forum. Mr. Vice President said that these initiatives provided valuable help for the industrialization process of Africa, including Nigeria.
In the past months since I assumed my duty as the Chinese Consul General in Lagos, I have witnessed a delicate Chinese-African cooperation work of art unfolding on this “Continent of Hope”. The construction of the largest deep-sea port in West Africa by the China Harbour Engineering Company (CHEC) is expected to create a total economic benefit of nearly US$360 billion and 170,000 jobs, opening up new prospects for Nigeria’s economic development. The construction of the Lagos Rail Mass Transit Blue Line and Red Line by the China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation (CCECC) has effectively upgraded local traffic conditions and greatly enhanced local people’s well-being.
I have also experienced first-hand how the China-Africa community with a shared future has taken root and flourished among both peoples. With support from the Chinese Consulate, Chinese communities and enterprises, such as the Huaxing Art Troupe Nigeria, have carried out a charity event called “Renewed Hope, Rebirth from the Light” to help cataract patients, which demonstrated the deep love and affection of the overseas Chinese to Nigerian brothers and sisters.
I often participated in cultural exchange activities with overseas Chinese communities under the theme of “Nigeria & China Cultural Exchange: Onsite School Activities”, and I made full use of these chances to interact with teachers and students. From them, I see Nigeria’s hope and future and feel even more confident about the future of building a China-Africa community with a shared future.
The world is big, big enough for people from different countries and regions to share their long history, brilliant culture, and traditional customs while maintaining their characteristics; the world is also small, small enough for all passengers on this ship to sail through stormy waves together. As long as we work hand in hand, I believe we will be able to push forward this promising vision towards a brighter future!