Remarks by Deputy Minister Candith Mashego-Dlamini at the Eighth Ministerial Conference of FOCAC, Dakar, Senegal, 30 November 2021

Honourable Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Senegal, HE Aissata Tall Sall,

Honourable Foreign Minister and State Councillor, of the People’s Republic of China, HE WANG Yi,

Honourable Ministers and heads of delegation,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

I wish to commence by expressing my sincere thanks to Minister Aissata Tall Sall and the people of the Republic of Senegal for the warm welcome and excellent hospitality extended to me and my delegation since our arrival in this beautiful city of Dakar.

Excellencies,

Since the last Summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) in Beijing, 2018 much progress has been registered within the framework of the China-Africa Partnership.

The FOCAC mechanism has given momentum to advancing the South-South Cooperation, which underpins the principles of mutual beneficiation, ownership, responsibility, reciprocity, respect and mutual accountability.

Excellencies,

This Ministerial Conference comes at a time when our world is reeling from the devastating COVID-19 pandemic that has caused loss of lives, destroyed economies and has exposed the ever-growing global inequalities.

The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed our interdependence and the importance of cooperating with one another in addressing the socio-economic challenges that the world faces currently.

The COVID-19 pandemic has shown how critical cooperation on public health is and therefore we need to work together with the African Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), on equipping our health practitioners with requisite skills and tools to combat the approaching pandemics.

We are faced with the nationalisation and hoarding of vaccines through stockpiling by some countries. We condemn this behaviour, as well as the unfair and discriminatory travel restrictions imposed to some African countries which impact negatively on our economies.

Since the Solidarity Summit against COVID-19, we have seen China assisting African countries by donating its COVID-19 vaccines. We welcome President Jinping’s announcement of the additional donation of 1 billion doses of vaccines for the next three years.

We also call upon China to increase trade and investments with Africa, as well as consider African countries’ debts by supporting the G20 Debt Service Suspension Initiative and other global financial institutions’ initiatives aimed at supporting the continent’s effort to resuscitate its shrinking economy caused by the pandemic.

We further call upon China to support the proposal on providing temporary patent waiver at the World Trade Organisation (WTO) to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic.

Excellencies,

We are also meeting at a time when we have just concluded the COP26 in Glasgow, Scotland which exposed the danger of the impending environmental changes effected by climate change.

The effects of climate change on Africa are significant despite the Continent being the least producer of greenhouse gases. Therefore, climate cooperation in the context of this partnership is important in addressing these adverse impact. In this regard, we welcome the adoption of the Declaration on China-Africa Cooperation on Climate at this Ministerial Conference.

Excellencies,

We recognise that peace and stability are sine qua non for socio-economic development, however, our continent continue to experience conflicts and internal strifes. Excellencies, this hampers the realisation of Agenda 2063, despite our best efforts to silence the guns on the continent.

We, therefore, count on our indispensable partner, China to continue supporting the implementation of the China-Africa Peace and Security Initiative.

Excellencies,

We admire the Chinese model of development which has lifted millions of the Chinese from poverty. In this context, we look up to China in assisting our continent to reach the goals of Agenda 2063 and its flagship projects.

The recently adopted African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement has the potential to boost intra-African trade in the continent.

We, therefore, urge the Chinese government to work together and share her experience with our continent in the implementation of the AfCFTA.  We also appeal to China to consider aligning the Belt and Roads Initiative (BRI) with the Agenda 2063 and other African economic development programmes, such as NEPAD-AUDA.

In conclusion, let me highlight that we are content with the level of implementation of FOCAC that has been registered to date, we believe that more could be done through the adoption and implementation of the Dakar Declaration, Dakar Action Plan and China-Africa Cooperation Vision 2035.

We thank the People’s Republic of China for showcasing their commitment and trust in enhancing our comprehensive strategic partnership to an advanced level.

I thank you all.

ISSUED BY THE DEPARTMENT OF INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS AND COOPERATION

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