|Statement by Ambassador Liu Zhenmin at the Plenary Meeting of the 64th Session of the General Assembly on Agenda Items 63(a): New Partnership for Africa's Development: Progress in Implementation and International Support and 63(b): Causes of Conflict and the Promotion of Durable Peace and Sustainable Development in Africa|
New York, 20 October 2009
At the outset, I welcome the report submitted by the Secretary-General on the current agenda items. The Chinese delegation supports the statement made by the representative of Sudan on behalf of the Group of 77 and China.
Africa is home to most developing countries, and African countries account for a quarter of the UN Member States. Without peace and development in Africa, there will not be world peace and development. The international community should render more understanding and care to the special challenges facing African countries in the process of development. It is the consistent view of the Chinese delegation that, keeping in mind the difficulties confronting African countries, the international community should take Africa's concerns seriously, respect its positions, heed its calls and support its requests. In September last year, the United Nations convened the High-level Meeting on Africa's Development Needs, which adopted the Political Declaration on Africa's Development Needs, demonstrating the common will of all countries to strengthen cooperation in helping African countries speed up their development.
This year marks the eighth anniversary of the launch of the New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD). Over the past eight years, with the strong support of the international community, African countries have made progress in the areas such as infrastructure, agriculture, health, education, environmental protection, information and communication technology, gender mainstreaming and African peer review mechanism. Nevertheless, the impact of the financial crisis, food crisis, energy crisis and climate change has presented an unprecedented development crisis to the African continent, causing concern over the prospect of achieving the MDGs in Africa. The international community should take immediate action to reduce the implications of the crisis for the economic and social endeavors of African countries, and help them make progress in implementing the NEPAD and achieving the MDGs. In this connection, we maintain that the international community should put great emphasis on the following areas:
First, promptly deliver on its commitments to assistance. The international community should follow through on all its assistance commitments to Africa. In particular, developed countries should increase their ODA to 0.7% of their GNP. For many African countries, ODA provides the main financial source for their economic and social development. The external assistance should be targeted, and serve the fundamental and long-term needs of African people.
Second, provide more additional financing. Due to the global financial crisis, most developing countries have witnessed a sharp decrease in fiscal revenue and experienced difficulties in securing external financing. They find it impossible to take counter-cyclical policy to stimulate economic growth. International financial institutions should forge a mechanism to provide rapid and effective financial assistance to African countries, and provide financing support without conditionality to African countries so as to help them get out of economic difficulties.
Third, respect the self-determination right of African countries. African countries have worked vigorously to achieve strength through unity, seek regional peace and stability and revitalize their economies. While rendering assistance to African countries, the international community should also have confidence in the wisdom of the African governments and people, and respect the rights to self-determination and leadership of the recipient countries.
Fourth, expand the South-South cooperation. In seeking development, developing countries have all along rendered mutual understanding and support. As a useful complement to the North-South cooperation, the South-South cooperation has emerged as an effective driving force for Africa's economic development. We should explore various forms of South-South cooperation for the benefit of African development.
Fifth, assist African countries in capacity building. African development requires enhanced capacity for sustainable development. The international community should increase its input in African countries in the areas of infrastructure, agriculture, education, health and environmental protection. In the meantime, the international community should increase aid for trade to African countries to enhance their ability to engage in foreign trade and ultimately promote their economic and social development.
Sixth, strengthen the role of international organizations. The UN system has an irreplaceable role to play in supporting the NEPAD. It is necessary to take advantage of the UN Regional Coordination Mechanism to strengthen coordination among the UN agencies in providing assistance to Africa at the regional level, and improve the efficiency of their work. The partnership between the UN system and the African Union, the African Development Bank and regional economic communities should also be strengthened to ensure the consistency between the focus of the UN agencies and the priorities of the NEPAD. International financial and development institutions should also intensify their support to Africa.
The experience of countries around the world shows that peace and stability forms the basis for development, and African development calls for a peaceful environment. Most of the armed conflicts related to African countries are rooted in poverty and lack of development. The occurrence of armed conflicts not only impedes African development, but also worsens poverty there. In addition, we hold that, to resolve the conflicts and achieve sustainable development in Africa, great emphasis should be put on preventive diplomacy. The Secretary-General pointed out in his report that the cost of armed conflicts in Africa equals or exceeds the total sum of international assistance received by the continent. If it is not squandered by armed conflicts, the money can no doubt be used to serve Africa's growing needs for development. China supports the United Nations and the African Union in their efforts to resolve conflicts in Africa and create a peaceful and stable environment for the development of African countries.
The traditional friendship between peoples of China and Africa dates back to ancient times. China-Africa cooperation is an important component of the South-South cooperation. It is China's consistent foreign policy to further develop and strength the new partnership with Africa characterized by long-term stability, equality, mutual benefit and all-round cooperation, and support Africa with concrete action in its efforts to achieve peace and development.
Since the outbreak of the financial crisis, while overcoming its own difficulties, China has continued to provide various forms of assistance to African countries, including grant, interest-free loans, and concessional loans. China focuses its assistance on strengthening China-Africa cooperation in agriculture, infrastructure, human resources training and public health, which are all priority areas of the NEPAD. At the Beijing Summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation held in 2006, the Chinese government announced its decision to exempt 33 heavily indebted poor countries and least developed countries in Africa that have diplomatic relations with China of their interest-free loan debts owed to China that matured at the end of 2005. By the end of the first quarter of 2009, China had successfully exempted 150 accounts of matured debts owed by 32 countries. The Chinese government also attaches great importance to the concerns of African countries over market access and trade imbalances, and has taken a host of measures to promote trade with African countries. In 2008, the total trade between China and Africa stood at 106.84 billion US dollars, an increase of 45.1% year-on-year, of which China's imports from Africa amounted to 56 billion US dollars, registering an increase of 54% over the previous year. In the future, China will provide further assistance and support to African countries in the areas such as agriculture, education, health, medical care, and clean energy. We will also continue to support African countries in their conflict prevention and settlement and peace building endeavors.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.