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A Mauritius Based Africa/Asia Approach to 21st Century and Beyond: Global Justice and Peace

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My dream for years has been to develop, one day ,somewhere, a global platform for multicultural restorative justice and peace with an enriching and inspiring interfaith mission and foundation. That is why I  feel blessed to have the privilege to come and experience  Mauritius at this time in my life after enjoying such a long enriching global career indeed  still growing. 

 At this point in  the history of the nation, Africa, Asia, and the world as a whole,we human beings are in desperate need for a global place for multicultural restorative justice and peace best practices encouragement,  designing,monitoring,and transplanting. Why can’t Mauritius become that global capital of justice and peacemaking in our crystallizing 21st century world , indeed,  for well beyond? It is a question to not only ponder but to act proactively on given the nation’s pivotal geopolitical location as a knowledge economy based between both continents as an ambitious  emerging major African multiethnic/religious democracy. 

The Present Crumbling of White Supremacy in Global Affairs

 Nations and their restorative justice institutions and communities we thought would be such  sustainable venues of global peacemaking –Botswana, Canada,Ethiopia,Rwanda, South Africa, Switzerland,Tanzania, and United States , have at best achieved partially and in other respects , have  failed miserably in this most vital global role in these emerging century years. Their   partial successes and utter failures are  rooted in the same thing.

Namely, I am referring to the Eurocentric or more commonly called White Supremacy presumptions and more conscience norms and values. Their  undergirding of current dominant global justice and peace paradigms of the West and westernized East and South fall well short of what holistic restorative justice must be to authentically transform societies dehumanized  through the invention of race and its synchronisms with other dehumanizing human constructed statuses such as age, economic class, disability, gender, nationality,  religion and tribe. 

This is because in the 18th- 20th century world European imperialists made to dominate and exploit those they colonized and reduced down to mythological inferior races any justice and peace perspective, was  designed in their interests.So reforms to better the conditions of agricultural or urban colonial workers bubbling up from grass roots movements or trickling down as policies were designed to maintain the status quo though with some degree of marginal crumbs tossing  structural adjustment. 

We even saw this happening in Mauritius as part of the story of the origins of the Labour Party in the 1930s to 1960s and its fight for ordinary workers met by colonial and economic elites giving in here and there incrementally always at the end of the day on their terms. It is a microcosm of what it has been like in a  world for centuries where those of European descent all over the world have addressed justice and peace issues only for their own interests. The rise and quick fall of Black Reconstruction in the late 19th Century U.S.; the Whitening Slavery Abolition Policies in Brazil , the Imperialist designs of the post-World War I Treaty of Versailles and the formation of the League of Nations and later the United Nations  were all supposed to promote justice and peace in  terms perpetuating White authority and producing the sustained marginality of non-whites . In terms of global  justice and peace international infrastructure efforts embedded in White Supremacy presumptions we have experienced how European nations and the United States have at will broke institutional rules and sided with their White nations allies.Though , for instance,in the 1930s , Mussolini’s Italy and Selassie’ s Ethiopia both belonged to the League of Nations, the former was allowed to attack the later. 

In more recent times, the United Nations ignoring the 1994 Rwanda Genocide and allowing the American government to attack and destabilize Iraq and Libya with the backing of their European allies are  as well illustrations of how much global  justice and peace issues are  too often driven by Eurocentric unilateral interests. 

Meanwhile ,faulty western global knowledge continues to downspiral all of us in dangerous ways while the world cries for the decolonization of understanding how the world really is in all voices. For instance,when the Arab Spring uprising in Egypt and the bloodless couple which ousted Zimbabwe’s Robert Magube caught Western elites off guard their most distinguished pundits confessed the limitations of ( White Supremacy) paradigms.And same for their puzzlement over the defeat of the French and then the Americans in Vietnam and the defeat of the British, Russians, and now Americans in  Afghanistan. And now the  western public health inability to explain why COVID-19 pandemic registers lower in many areas of Africa and Asia than in Europe and North America or their reluctance to admit more fully  non- westerners have   indigenous solutions they should be listening to and adapting with public  acknowledgement. 

As long as this White Supremacy hegemony in global justice and peace endeavors are  in place we will have increasing conflictual  and other misunderstanding problems given the South to North and West to East geopolitical shifts.  This is because though gradual in some ways and rapid in others the shifts symbolize the crumbling of Eurocentric White Supremacy cognitive styles and  economic power and privilege and the emergence of African and Asian power and privilege with growing cultural and economic influences. In regards to cultural influences the  recent opening  of Tsinghua University’s  Schwarzman Scholars School which is much larger than the Anglo Saxon Rhodes Scholar Program we see the global  spread of   Chinese and Indian  hardware and software and fashion brands as well as foodstuffs and life philosophies. 

Similar to historical relationships among the White dominated continental regions  of the world – Australia,  New Zealand,Europe, Canada/ USA in North America , and  Central/South America   we are now  finding Africans and Asians searching for strong alliances on numerous critical fronts bound to get stronger as the years roll forward. 

African/Asian Justice and Peace: Key Principles 

In this emerging constellation of  African/ African alliances, there must be a venue constructed and sustained, while changing effectively with future times, to become globally renowned for world justice, and peace.And it must be centered in a deep interfaith spiritual and religious compass which also includes the faith of those who are of the highest moral integrity who do not belong to an institutional faith but respects all positive faiths.

This is because no matter what or who we believe in, external to us and to our humanity we are all spiritual beings on human journeys.  As a critically important needed improvement over state oriented Eurocentric models of peace making which disconnect from spiritual and religious considerations ( with faith institutions and spiritual approaches taking on more informal roles and positions), African and Asian  justice and peace models will root their best practices models in spiritual and religious considerations   to bring together individuals, institutions, communities, societies, and global region leaders together to do justice and peacemaking.

It is critical to say justice and peace not the  liberal and neoliberal Eurocentric convention of peace and justice in African/ Asian modeling. Africans/Diasporas and Asians/Diasporas  as ex-colonized and otherwise people marginalized and excluded from historical  structures of Eurocentric power and privilege  should know of all peoples the cosmetic and failed consequences of getting peace while the structures of wealth distribution and social, cultural, and political domination don’t change significantly. What may change  ,which is toothless tokenism rather than authentic transformation, is the expansion of opportunity structures for well assimilated ex-colonials and racialized minorities to sit at the master’s table as long as they go along with the master’s agenda.

The world of our future as global human beings much change for the betterment and empowerment of all or what I call developmental empowerment. Developmental empowerment  as proposed African/ Asian  justice and peace  models  would dramatically  shift us from Eurocentric notions of democracy in practice have been  for the elite handful and tyranny, marginality, stigma, and exclusion for the majority to democracies authentically transparent and  inclusive of all citizens thus with all enjoying their human rights.All citizens must be   respected and treated like decent human beings socially and culturally rather than just in flowering  words of a constitution with a written though not holistically practiced rule of law. 

The African/ Asian justice and peace models would break  from the free world/ unfree world binary paradigm of global  affairs which is the product of the American and Western response to the post-World War I Bolshevik Revolution which would sow the seeds for the post-World War II Cold War. Democracy in the African/ Asian framework means the recognition and practice of all human rights rather than the type of  constitutional governance. This is an important observation to make as we Americans are finally being forced to admit as we did in the 1950s and 1960s Black human rights movements   and even more so ,in 2020, that we have serious human rights violation problems similar to the countries we have enjoyed pointing fingers at just because they don’t share American and otherwise western governance styles.

The reason why so many   African, Middle Eastern , Latin and Central American, Caribbean ,and Southeast Asian countries are in such shambles is due to the billions of dollars Western countries , global finance  institutions, and world development measurement corporations have spent  since the 1960s, trying to force non-Western countries and regions into their governance style images as well in their styles of doing peacemaking.  African/ Asian  peace and justice models with emerging illustrations on both continents have the potential of moving beyond the free world/ non-free world artificially constructed global scheme as an emerging South way of making the evolving world much more developmentally empowering for every one no matter of the governance structure of the nation in which they reside.  This builds on the idea of BRICS but in a much more expansive way in including other African , Asian, and Latin American countries with indigenous and otherwise non-western financial backing rather than from western financial interests. 

African/ Asian justice and peace models would  discard the 20th century word ” international ” and replace it with “global.”The word international invokes a legal definition regarding  relations between sovereign states and their citizens thus ignoring  stateless peoples and those who simply live in more than one nation historically and especially in the 21st century.And the word international side steps and thus avoids discussion of  European descent colonial and anti-colonial imposition of boundaries and borders of the colonized in Africa/Diasporas and Asia/ Diasporas splitting up and causing perpetual regional problems among cultural groups belonging to the same populations but forced into different artificially designed sovereign  states  

We can sit here and think about the slicing up of original Rwanda by the Belgians and Germans giving some land and people to the Congo , Burundi , Tanzania, and Uganda.Or the British and French carving up of what became West Africa. Or what the British did in slicing up and off South Asia  and along with the French  Southeast Asia  and the American  dividing North  from South Korea and same with Vietnam. Lest we forget we have with us the now perpetual Israeli- Palestine conflict  a child of one of the first actions of the Western Super Power dominated U N. Security Council.

Therefore ,the word global would be preferred rather than international in any African/ Asian justice and peace model.   It discards a reminder of the crumbling White Supremacy order . The  word global  injects needed complexities, paradoxes, and contradictions in understanding how we all live our lives with or without borders and boundaries.It also conjures up impartiality in  letting us all tell our stories of where we are from and how we arrived involuntarily and voluntarily and where we are presently, where in the future we may be going.

My final point is how African/Asian justice and peace modeling would best be grounded in holistic restorative justice processes. Restorative justice as a transparency driven  mutual accountability engagement justice and peacemaking process  involving both perpetrators  and victims is an ancient tradition found within numerous indigenous non-European descendant cultures around the world.   

In three ways, restorative justice was popularized and began to move into  Eurocentric transitional justice policy making mainstream practice through South African   Bishop Desmond TuTu’s early 1990s Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

First , through the  design and utilization of Truth and Reconciliation models in post- conflict nations and regions.

Second, through all levels of government and civil societies and local communities stressing one or more steps in what is supposed to be , as I have extensively written about elsewhere,a comprehensive holistic such as historical memory, confession, apology ( repentance) , forgiveness, reparations, reconciliation, or unity. 

Third, usually as seen utilized in American criminal justice systems, victim rights are the usual focus in the first two perspectives or as  stand alone perspectives.

The usual  fragmentation of restorative justice processes gravely limits if not  destroys capacity to be authentic transformation experiences embedded  in the transparency rights and responsibilities of perpetrators and victims. Such engagement  processes when fragmented become at best symbolic political  gestures well meaning or not rather than leading to the restoration of the humanity of both perpetrating and victimized populations and thus of entire societies and their institutions and communities.

Major  fragmented and ineffectual restorative justice practices examples would be government or civil society such as faith communities and universities apologies or reparations ( monetary or structural access and upward mobility) to historical victimized groups or deporting or jailing or executing perpetrators. Since these fragment policies are steps  in holistic restorative justice torn out of contextual sequence appropriate engagement preparation and  for empathetic awareness  for perpetrator and victim perspectives does not occur.

This breeds resentment and conflict rather than mutual empathy essential for unity to occur.It is  why, for instance, affirmative action policies for lower castes in India

 for historical racially oppressed populations in Brazil, Great Britain, South Africa,  and United States ,and for former racialized dominant populations as in Rwanda have mixed to negative images , dynamics, and outcomes. They are state or civil society or corporate  sponsored reparations policies without the previous steps to generate mutual transparency and empathetic awareness in both historical perpetrator and victim populations.

African/Asian justice and peace making models will be embedded in holistic restorative justice steps I call multicultural restorative justice. Though costly, labor intensive, and emotionally grueling, multicultural holistic restorative justice engagement processes create sustaining unity as the final outcome centered in life long intercultural opening values and identities of former perpetrator and victim populations.  Real justice and real peace rather than cosmetic justice and cosmetic peace is what the world around us so sorely needs and can achieve through African/ Asian multicultural restorative justice models which authentically create and sustain justice and peace.

We are moving on this Africa/ Asia justice and peace initiative now  now .We are  seeking global partners on both continents and elsewhere to join us committed to our vision of a future authentic  all inclusive developmental empowerment approach to post-White Supremacy justice and peace. That is those who understand globalization is not ending; it is changing demographic and geopolitical hands which must  endeavor to work for holistic multicultural restorative justice and peace for all not a few of us. This is especially the case given the fact we may be facing soon  post US Trump and post UK Johnson and post European Union as well as post South Africa Ramaphosa  worlds in need of assistance from our  global African/ Asian multicultural restorative justice venue to turn to for unprecedented authentic efforts to build sustaining multicultural democracies rather than solely cosmetic ones being aggressively exposed and challenged with need for best practices knowledge our global venue will be in the position to offer.Yes, as an anomaly  in the crumbling White Supremacy  global affairs paradigm thus not seen or acknowledged if seen by its iconic pundits,the South and the East assisting the North and West in their multicultural restorative justice developmental empowerment is a probability which  perchance will become the leading global affairs  master narrative of the next decade or two.

Director Institute for Advanced Study of African Renaissance Policies Ideas ( ASARPI) SSR Chair of African Studies University of Mauritius

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Africa

What Social Movements Mean for African Politics

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Africa’s transition from a continent of colonial protectorates to independent states has been met with developmental and political challenges. From the 1960s, the political trajectory of Africa witnessed many regimes, regimes that have made their mark on the continent. The struggle for the legitimacy of state power between the African people and the regimes whose policies have shaped the political history of the continent oscillated between nationalistic interest and arbitrariness, at a time when the newly independent states needed a definite political direction.

For instance by 2002, the nationalistic government of Robert Mugabe had left Zimbabwe groveling in the drought stricken velds from bad economic policies. Today, Uganda is still reeling from the administrative recklessness of the Idi Amin regime. Considering the dark regimes that have been etched into the history of some states in Africa, democracy was a light that was to lead into a new dawn.

With democracy, came promises that would ensure the emancipation of dissident voices. The promises that democracy bore for African states were the development of state institutions and the improvement of state responses to the general will. For the people of Africa, the advent of democracy signified that a leader had to prove themselves, while for the leaders, it proved a paradigm shift in the management of power; a loss of the insularity of state politics. It meant that leaders had to show accountability, not only to their people, but also to external powers that existed as international institutions and hegemonic states with pro-democratic foreign policies.

Many issues with the African conception of democracy remain unresolved even despite many years of political transitioning for Africa’s largest economies. One of the issues that have remained unresolved in the African democracy is the perception of institutions by the individuals occupying them, another of these issues is the sensitivity of the African democracy to vibrant social movements where the protection of human rights is concerned.

In contemporary African democracies, there exists a new democratic space where social movements have engaged the political realities. One of the most empowering facts for social movements in Africa is the globalized effect of the social media and its pivotal role in ensuring government accountability.

In safe-guarding human rights and ensuring the protection of the rule of law in Africa, social movements have a huge role to play, as they are essential to achieving governmental accountability through a sustained engagement and with the power of collective insistence. In African states where the government is autocratic, social movements are a threat to state power and are thus met with violent resistance.

According to a study by Guillermo A O’Donnell, state repression have proven to be the constant response to social movements. This is because the greatest strategy of autocratic governments in stifling resistance that could lead to an explosive demonstration of popular discontent, is in the use of threats, intimidation and persecution. According to Human Rights Watch, in 2016, there was a violent suppression of peaceful protests in East Africa. In Uganda, Ethiopia and Kenya, the governments responded to peaceful protesters with deadly force which led to the death and the injury of many protesters. In 2020, the Nigerian government engaged protesters and activists during the EndSARS protests with the state security forces, which led to the deaths of unarmed protesters at the Lekki Toll Gate in Lagos. The aftermath of the protests saw the Nigerian government intimidating activists that were thought to have been at the forefront of the End SARS protests and attempting to muzzle the media.

One of the greatest challenges of democracy in Africa is the imbalance of power in the governmental structure. The imbalance in the allocation of power between arms of government or in the monolithic representation of power has resulted in the overexploitation of power. This has made it difficult for the African states that are yet to transit to democratic status to do so, and for those that have transited, to perfect their democratic act.

The power imbalance which could be attributed in some African countries like Nigeria to constitutional deficiencies was demonstrated when Obasanjo who became Nigeria’s president in 1999, tried to adjust constitutional term limits so that he could contest elections for a third term.  Social movements in Africa have toppled regimes in Africa and they have tremendous capacity to change the political course of a state.

 This could be achieved when social movements are popular and when they represent a general interest, then the interest which a government might claim it represents become invalidated by the shift in the alliance of the people. This is usually the case when there is a common agreement that the government in power no longer serves the interest of the people who elected such government.

The fear that spurs an autocratic government into attempting to repress social movement is that it might become popular. Social movements are powerful and could be harnessed for political change since they signal the activation of the collective power. At the level of the social movement, it is not a call to negotiation, but a call to swift action which both the government and the people recognize as it becomes insistent.

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Review: As Coronavirus Rise Past Three million, Africa Hopes for Vaccine

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Migrant women and their children quarantine at a site in Niamey, Niger. © UNICEF/Juan Haro

With its large population and fragile health systems, Africa has recorded more than three million Covid-19 cases, still less deadly as compared to other regions in the world, according to the Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC). According to Africa CDC, Africa’s coronavirus tally was 3,021,769 as of January 10. The death toll was 72,121 and the number of recoveries was 2,450,492. The biggest number of coronavirus cases were reported from South Africa, Morocco, Egypt, Tunisia, and Ethiopia.

South Africa, with more than 1.2 million reported cases, including 32,824 deaths, accounts for more than 30% of the total for the continent of 54 countries and 1.3 billion people. The high proportion of cases identified in South Africa, were attributed to more tests carried out than many other African countries.

African countries are expecting to get medical equipment, most especially vaccine, to help them out of the pandemic. These they expect from external sources. During January 4-9, Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi paid official visits to Nigeria, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Tanzania, Botswana and Seychelles. Wang Yi emphasized that China is willing to deepen mutually beneficial cooperation in diverse spheres with Africa. For example, China’s efforts to create a new image in Africa through China-European Union Cooperation in vaccine.

Both China and the EU vow to work as a global collaboration under the World Health Organization in terms of accelerating the development and manufacture of Covid-19 vaccines, and assuring fair and equitable access for every country in the world. It’s about making the vaccine a global public good.

Last December, during his annual media conference, President Vladimir Putin made it known that Russia’s readiness to help foreign countries including Africa. With regard to cooperation with other countries, it would boost the technological capabilities, enterprises to produce the vaccine, foreign countries would invest their own money into expanding their production capacities and purchasing the corresponding equipment, he explained.

Foreign countries would be investing in these projects: the enlargement of production facilities and the purchase of equipment. “As for cooperation with foreign countries: nothing is stopping us from manufacturing vaccine components at facilities in other countries precisely because we need time to enhance technological capacities of our vaccine manufacturing enterprises. This does not hinder vaccination in the Russian Federation in any way,” Putin said.

According to January report from the Tass News Agency, the Russian Direct Investment Fund has only registered the first Russian vaccine Sputnik V in Africa. “Russian Direct Investment Fund announces the first registration of Sputnik V in Africa. Ministry of Pharmaceutical Industry of Algeria registered Sputnik V on January 10th,” as follows from a post on their official Twitter account.

According to the Russian Direct Investment Fund, the registration was done under the accelerated Emergency Use Authorization procedure. This procedure was also used to register this vaccine in Argentina, Bolivia, and Serbia. The Fund said that supplies to Algeria would be possible thanks to its international partners in India, China, South Korea and other countries.

Writing under the headline “Africa’s Road to Recovery in 2021 Is a Fresh Start” published originally by Chatham House, Dr Alex Vines, the Director for the Africa Program at Chatham House, said many African countries would be much more seriously affected by the socioeconomic consequences of the global economic slowdown triggered by the pandemic. Even before Covid-19 hit, an increasing number of African countries were indebted and financially stressed.

He wrote that African debt would become a greater global concern in 2021 as many African states remain the world’s poorest and most fragile and have been hard hit by the economic and financial costs imposed by the pandemic.

In his analysis, Dr Vines further pointed out that 2021 will also see increased geopolitical rivalry for influence in Africa. This will include competition over generosity, ranging from positioning over debt cancellation to providing Covid-19 vaccines. China has its Sinopharm vaccine and has already signed up to Covax, the international initiative aimed at ensuring equitable global access. The Russians have their Sputnik V vaccine, the UK has its AstraZeneca and University of Oxford vaccine, and the US the Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech (with Germany) vaccines.

Reports from Quartz also said Africa appears not part of the supply priorities of the Pharmaceutical companies producing the foremost Covid-19 vaccines. While Pfizer-BioNTech has offered to supply just 50 million Covid-19 vaccines to Africa starting from March to the end of this year, Moderna and AstraZeneca have not yet allocated supplies for Africa. AstraZeneca directed the African Union (AU) to negotiate with the Serum Institute of India for its vaccine to see if they can get a deal. Serum Institute of India has earlier obtained the license to produce the AstraZeneca vaccine.

The Quartz report said most African countries mainly relied on the COVAX co-financing public-private facility backed by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to enable rapid and equitable access to Covid-19 vaccines for lower income countries. The facility promised access to vaccines for up to 20% of participating countries’ population with an initial supply beginning in the first quarter of the year to immunize 3% of their population. However, COVAX is underfunded, and these countries must look for other avenues to access more doses to vaccinate the 50% of their population in order to reach immunity.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, several countries around the world have been making efforts to facilitate local vaccine development, clinical trials, and some had made upfront payments for vaccines to encourage early production. Outside of South Africa, most African economies have played too little or no role at all in the development of Covid-19 vaccines and had likewise made little or effort to secure vaccines while other economies around the world were doing so.

For instance, a globally respected genomic and infectious disease laboratory in Nigeria announced the development of a Covid-19 vaccine in September that is 90% effective against the virus in the preclinical trial but it has not been able to carry out clinical trials due to lack of support and funding.

While Kenya recently announced that through the COVAX facility, it ordered 24 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine, with supply expected to start arriving in the second week of next month, several African countries are opting for vaccines from India, Russia, and China. This is despite skepticism about the vaccines from Russia and China in particular. Both countries rolled out their vaccines without phase 3 clinical trial results that confirm the vaccine effectiveness.

South Africa said it made a deal with Serum Institute India and will be getting 1.5 million doses of AstraZeneca vaccine for its health workers starting this month. The country, which is going is also in talks with Russia and China to procure vaccines. Currently, Guinea is testing the Russian vaccine, Sputnik V and has ordered 2 million doses.

Morocco has ordered 65 million doses of the Sinopharm vaccine from China, and AstraZeneca vaccine from Serum Institute India. Egypt plans to buy 40 million doses of the Sinopharm vaccine, has already received 50,000 doses of the vaccine in December, and expecting another 50,000 in the second or third week of this month when vaccination will commence. Nigeria says vaccine access was in its discussions this week with the Chinese foreign minister during his visit to the county, according to the report from Quartz.

Besides the fact that Africa has registered its three million cases, Africa still behind the United States and European countries, and Asian countries such as China and India when it comes to the Covid-19 outbreak. For many African countries, it is still the time to reflect on African countries’ responses to Covid-19. Although it has abundant resources, Africa remains the world’s poorest and least developed continent, and worse with poor development policies. It is time to prioritize and focus on sustainable development.

Significantly, the global pandemic has exposed the weaknesses in Africa’s health system, adversely affected its economic sectors, it is therefore necessary for African leaders, the African Union (AU), regional organizations and African partners be reminded of issues relating to sustainable development and integration. It sets as a reminder to highlight and prioritize the significant tasks set out by the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the African Union’s Agenda 2063.

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China’s Diplomacy in Africa: Being a civilian great power

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Authors: Xu Guoying & Chen Yiling*

During January 4-9, Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi paid official visits to Nigeria, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Tanzania, Botswana and Seychelles. According to the media reports, the visits is in line with China’s 30-year tradition of choosing Africa as the destination of all Chinese foreign ministers’ first overseas visit each year and demonstrated China’s close attention to its ties with African countries as well as its firm friendship with African people.

Noting the year 2021 marks the last year for the implementation of Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) Beijing Action Plan (2019-21), FM Wang’s visits aimed to deepen coordination and communication with the African side to cement the important consensuses and facilitate economic recovery in African countries while fighting the virus. Since the outbreak of the pandemic in 2020, the close cooperation between China and Africa in fighting the pandemic has indicated the two sides’ firm determination to step up relationship with each other. This is more necessary because the traditional friendship between China and Africa would have reached new heights in the post-pandemic era while they also expected to exchange views on a new round of forum during this visit.

There is no doubt that China’s diplomacy has always adhered to the principle that all countries, large or small, are equal and that has advocated multilateralism, opposed power politics, promoted general democratization in international relations, and supported the United Nations to play its due role in international affairs. To that end, China needs the consensus and diplomatic supports from the countries in the Third World, particularly the African states. Given this, Chinese FM Wang reiterate that big countries should take the lead in abiding by the basic norms of international relations, not interfering in other countries’ internal affairs, helping small and medium-sized developing countries, and assuming their international responsibilities in dealing with climate change and promoting sustainable development. Today, as the largest developing country, China is willing to fulfill its international obligations since its development is a growing force for peace, justice, and other developing countries as equal members of the international community.

This is not a lip-service but a solemn promise to play a more active role in international affairs and is willing to work with the country to safeguard world peace, stability, and prosperity. As a matter of fact, most states of Africa have admitted that China has adhered to the principle of equality between large and small countries, and made all the efforts to safeguard the interests of small and medium-sized countries and developing countries. Morally and practically, China has always stood with developing countries in international affairs. During his trip to Africa, Wang praised China’s close ties with the African states like the important members of the international community where all the members should treat each other as equals and achieve fruitful results in practical cooperation.

It is obvious that the leaders of the African states welcomed FM Wang’s visit and vowed to continue to support Beijing on the issues concerning China’s core interests, and inclusive of taking the opportunity of jointly building the Belt and Road and implementing the outcomes of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) Beijing Summit with the view to taking mutual cooperation to a new level and building a community with a shared future for both sides in light of the economic and social development needs of the African people. Considering the huge African population and rich natural resources, China is willing to deepen mutually beneficial cooperation with Africa in many traditional and new areas such as green environmental protection and blue ocean economics. Meanwhile, China fully understands the urgent desire of the African states to cope with climate change. The two sides agreed to sign the implementation agreement on the construction of low-carbon demonstration zones in South-South cooperation.

Since China’s relationship with Africa has been never exclusive, it calls on the cooperative programs with all the countries, in particular the European Union. For example, China’s efforts to create a new image in Africa through China-EU Cooperation in vaccine. This is the good chance for both sides because they all want to bring the coronavirus pandemic under control and then it’s going to require a major, global effort to do so. As a matter of fact, China has reiterated that the virus knows no borders and has no interest in the nationality of its victims. As a result, it will overcome all barriers if we do not work together to counter it. In the face of the virus, we are without doubt a global community. But the key question is: Are we able to act like one? The answer is yes, but China and the EU need to work together to play a pivotal role in dealing with what is called the political, social, and ethical issue. It requires that political leaders manage to explain convincingly that it is advantageous for all of us if as a first step some people are vaccinated in all countries instead of all people in some countries?

Both China and the EU vow to work as a global collaboration under the World Health Organization in terms of accelerating the development and manufacture of COVID-19 vaccines, and assuring fair and equitable access for every country in the world. It’s about making the vaccine a global public good. This should be in Chinese and Europe’s interests too. There is a consensus between China and the EU that nurses in African countries be vaccinated as a first step, and soonest—needs a big PR push.

There’s little doubt that most Europeans want the vaccine as soon as possible. But the EU should also move fast to vaccinate especially doctors and nurses in as many affected and vulnerable African countries as possible. There are several compelling reasons to do this. First is the destructive nature of the virus. The longer it flourishes, the greater the chance of it mutating in ways that make it even more deadly, contagious, or just difficult to vaccinate against. Getting it rolled out quickly across Africa is crucial. Second, a World Bank study in last April showed that if the EU and European governments are really serious about their soft power, this is the time to share the vaccine in a way that equals to the global influence of China as it has already been sending vaccine for trials in Bangladesh, Indonesia, Pakistan, and the Philippines.

Now as for China’s relations with Africa, where it has built huge infrastructure projects on the back of loans to several countries and is extracting much-needed raw materials, the Chinese leadership has gone on the offensive. In June, Chinese President Xi Jinping told a meeting of African leaders that “African countries will be among the first to benefit” from a coronavirus vaccine, once its development and deployment is completed in China. Moreover, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi has pledged that Beijing would extend $11 billion (€9 billion) in loans for vaccines to Latin American and Caribbean countries. In light of this, China and the EU should cooperate with each other in Africa rather than excluding the other side. For sure, all the more reason for China and the EU to seize the opportunity to boost their mutual soft power with a combination of philanthropy and a big dose of self-interest.

To that end, China has reiterated that it is not a military threat to the status quo since it has reaffirmed the defensive nature of its national defense policy as Chinese top legislative body adopted new revisions to the National Defense Law, renewing tasks and goals as well as cementing policies. Accordingly, it is quite sure that China will be more like to act as a civilian great power which is compatible with the goal of the European Union. Considering this, China and the EU would be able to continue their cooperative partners in trade and economics, transparent and open competitors in high technologies and possibly the systematic rivals.

*Chen Yiling, MA, a research fellow at the Center for International Relations, SIPA, Jilin University

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UN agencies voiced deep concern on Wednesday over the worsening humanitarian crisis in Mozambique’s Cabo Delgado province, where attacks by...

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Global War on Terror: Pakistan’s Role and Evolving Security Architecture for sustainable peace

If Afghanistan, according to former president of the United States (US) George W Bush was the center of terror, then...

Africa7 hours ago

What Social Movements Mean for African Politics

Africa’s transition from a continent of colonial protectorates to independent states has been met with developmental and political challenges. From...

Green Planet9 hours ago

Promoting Green Finance in Qatar: Post-Pandemic Opportunities and Challenges

The recent COVID-19 pandemic had significant implications for both national economies and the global financial system, in addition to hindering...

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Thailand: Growth in Jobs Critical for Sustained COVID-19 Recovery

Thailand’s economy was severely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and is estimated to have shrunk by 6.5 percent in 2020....

Economy11 hours ago

The Economy Against the Tide

The world evidently grappled with the effects of the Covid pandemic in 2020 and continues to wedge forward against the...

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