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China calls on UN to support capacity-building in Africa

By MINLU ZHANG at the United Nations | China Daily Global | Updated: 2022-08-09 08:57

Zhang Jun, China's permanent representative to the UN. [Photo/Xinhua]

The Chinese ambassador to the United Nations on Monday called on the international body to secure a durable peace in Africa and to explore ways to support capacity-building on the continent to address challenges.

"China and Africa have always supported each other and shared weal and woe. Africa's experiences and needs resonate with us as a developing country," Zhang Jun, China's permanent representative to the UN, said at the UN Security Council open debate "Peace and Security in Africa: Capacity-building for Sustaining Peace".

China last week assumed the rotating presidency of the Security Council for August, with the priorities of facilitating dialogue and cooperation for common security and supporting Africa's capacity-building for sustaining peace.

Monday's open debate was one of the signature events that China is planning to convene during its August presidency.

"Considering China's own development experience, experience from China-Africa cooperation and the historical lessons from all over the world, we believe that to help Africa achieve long-term stability, it is imperative to make sustained and increased investments, have long-term thinking and build a strong foundation for Africa to strengthen its own development capacity and improve its resilience to external shocks," said Zhang.

"In this regard, capacity-building is the most crucial part," he added.

Zhang said the international society should support African countries in strengthening governance capacity. "To enhance government capacity, we need to maintain the right direction and respect the independently chosen development pathway and social system by their peoples."

"There should be no political conditions attached to aid, nor should there be interference in internal affairs of African countries, or to replace the role of local governments," said Zhang.

It is important to support African countries in improving security sectors' capacity to perform their duties, the ambassador said, adding that the international community should conduct comprehensive reviews of UN peacekeeping operations, reform practices that do not fit the situation on the ground, develop sound mandates and enhance peacekeeping performance.

Zhang pointed out that when major economies, out of their own needs, change their monetary policies, the spillover effect will cause a financial tornado in Africa. While Africa experiences food and energy shortages, major grain traders and oil companies in developed countries are having their windfalls.

"African countries have expressed strong wishes for such unfair treatment to end, and the international community has the obligation to support them," said Zhang. "Developed countries should honor their commitments on climate financing as soon as possible and make up for what they owed to Africa in history.

"We need to support African countries in building a bigger talent pool," said Zhang. "The international community should help African countries train more talents based on the urgent needs in reconstruction and social and economic development."

Last year, President Xi Jinping proposed the Global Development Initiative (GDI), which focuses on urgent challenges in the development of African countries, said Zhang.

"We are ready to actively promote the GDI and the outcomes of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation by working together with Africa," he said.

Zhang presided over Monday's open debate.

Africa Union Commissioner for Political Affairs, Peace and Security Bankole Adeoye; Secretary-General's Special Adviser on Africa Cristina Duarte; and Chair of the UN Peacebuilding Commission and Permanent Representative of Bangladesh to the UN Muhammad Abdul Muhith also spoke at the meeting.

Adeoye said that capacity-building is crucial to maintaining a durable peace in Africa. As the rotating presidency of the Security Council, China proposed to hold the meeting, which is important and timely.

Duarte expressed appreciation for the China-UN Peace and Development Fund, which has "provided strong support for African countries' peaceful development and related research projects".

African countries participating in the meeting said that it will help the international community actively respond to the concerns of the African side and help Africa improve its key capabilities for maintaining lasting peace and development, which fully reflects China's strong support for Africa.

Council members and representatives of Senegal, South Africa, Egypt, Ethiopia, Algeria, Morocco, Mozambique, Rwanda, Equatorial Guinea, Tunisia, Germany, Italy, Japan, Australia, Canada and the European Union also attended Monday's meeting.

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