Your Excellency Aisata Tall Sall, Foreign Minister of Senegal and Chair of this Conference;
Your Excellency Wang Yi, State Councilor of the PRC and co-chair of this Conference;
Your Excellencies Heads of Delegation and Honorable Ministers
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Allow me first to join previous speakers to express the profound appreciation of my delegation to the Governments of Senegal and China for organizing the 8th FOCAC Ministerial Conference and for the warm hospitality accorded to us.
This Conference could not have taken place at a more auspicious time. In these turbulent times, our global community continues to be afflicted by a vicious pandemic, climate change and a polarized international order fraught with dangerous consequences to global peace and stability. These colossal challenges require joint efforts. We need to consolidate robust frameworks of international cooperation as embodied in FOCAC and similar regional/international frameworks.
In this respect, let me focus and highlight two aspects from the speech of the Rapporteur of the East Africa Region.
My first comment is on the imperative of common endeavours and aligned Africa-China positions within the UN family on international and regional issues of paramount importance. This is critical at this point in time to counter a regressive trend by powers who cannot countenance the reality of a more balanced, mutually beneficial, multi-polar international order.
In this lopsided worldview, Africa is seen as a mere pawn. It is seen as a captive backyard, without any right or latitude to interact with its international partners to advance common interests. As a result, accepted norms and rules of international law continue to be trampled, and, flagrant breaches of the sovereignty of nations and peoples committed with impunity. Indeed, the positions taken by certain powers in the conflict in Ethiopia and the imposition of unilateral sanctions on Eritrea are manifestation of this misguided approach. In the event, Africa and China can work together to ensure the integrity of international law. The task includes bolstering the role and mandate of the UN, and, the strengthening of multilateralism based on legality and symmetry.
The second comment I wish to make is in regard to sustainability and proper balance of Africa-China trade. China’s multi-faceted support to Africa remains substantial and commendable. But as we shift towards greater two-way trade in the period ahead, optimal trade balance both at the continental and individual country level will be achieved when and if Chinese investment enhances value addition in Africa. This will require China’s involvement not only in the primary but also in the secondary and tertiary levels of manufacturing. Africa has invested substantially in its human capital in the past decades. As a result, its young and dynamic labor force has the latent potential, vision, and ambition to venture into the high-end manufacturing subsector.
I thank you