China’s seat at the UN has benefited Africa, but more remains to be done »Capital News
In October 2021, the People’s Republic of China (PRC) celebrates the 50e anniversary since the restoration of its legal seat at the United Nations. As the Chinese people reflect on the progress made over the past 50 years, different communities also take stock of the results of their relationship with the world’s second largest economy. Developing countries, most of which are located in Africa, have played an important role in legitimizing the place of the PRC in the United Nations system.
As the last push to eradicate colonialism in Africa began in the 1950s, China became a rallying force, as evidenced by its role in holding the Bandung Conference in 1955 and forming the Non-Aligned Movement. in 1961. Being the most populous developing country with a similar experience of economic and political subjugation, Beijing’s foreign policy agenda resonated with the Newly Independent States of Africa.
In the period leading up to 1971, many African countries viewed China as a powerful political ally as well as an economic and development partner. It is against this backdrop that African countries overwhelmingly approved Resolution 2758, which guaranteed nearly a quarter of humanity their legitimate rights at the United Nations.
As a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council, China has played a key role in stabilizing world peace and security. Leading a foreign policy of peaceful coexistence and non-interference in the internal affairs of other countries, China has become the main contributor to the UN peacekeeping forces and the second largest funder of the maintenance budget. of the peace of the United Nations. In Africa, for example, Beijing has engaged more than 2,500 troops in peacekeeping missions in addition to donating $ 100 million to the African Union standby force.
The founding Charter of the United Nations envisioned a world free from the vagaries of war; where social progress and better living conditions constitute fundamental human rights. Emerging from the shackles of war, China has used the past five decades to achieve the most comprehensive poverty reduction record in human history. Understanding that economic security is a prerequisite for global peace and security has enabled China to be a model of societal transformation among developing countries. As the second largest contributor to the overall UN budget, Beijing is also involved in the design and implementation of development programs around the world.
By bringing states together on one table, the United Nations provides the platform for countries to work together in the spirit of multilateralism to overcome global challenges. Lately, the strength of nationalism and pseudo-multilateralism has taken root, with some countries rejecting the appeal of international organizations. Yet China has become a staunch champion of global cooperation, as evidenced by its role in responding to the Covid-19 pandemic. Beijing is the largest source of Covid-19 vaccines for African countries today – having played a key role in helping the continent access essential commodities and experience with epidemic control at the onset of the health crisis global.
More than 44 African countries have also joined the Belt and Road Initiative; a multilateral platform referred to by China which places peace and development at the heart of international relations. Under the five pillars of trade, infrastructure construction, policy coordination, inclusive finance and cultural exchanges, the BRI proves its usefulness in Africa, having contributed more than 20% to the economic growth of the continent over the past decade.
While the United Nations system has its flaws, it remains the most enduring arena for shaping inclusive global cooperation. Going forward, China should continue to use its UN headquarters to promote the interests of developing countries by safeguarding the principles of the UN charter. Many of the successes that China has consolidated at home are the product of its effective international cooperation with international partners such as those found in Africa.
The world is currently facing a multitude of cross-border challenges including the Covid-19 pandemic. Climate change remains a serious threat to the sustainability of the environment and of human life on earth. The inequality of global development is spreading around the world, while poverty and violent extremism are still entrenched in many parts of the world. These challenges are more difficult to meet in developing countries and will require concerted global efforts to overcome them.
As a veto state, China’s great power status gives it great responsibility in shaping the next 50 years. The coming decades will define the viability of humanity. With nearly a quarter of humanity living on its territory, Beijing must remain committed to promoting functional and inclusive multilateralism. Its contribution to stemming the pandemic tide and reducing the footprint of climate change is essential in shaping a new dawn for a better world.
The writer is a specialist in international relations, specializing in Sino-African relations. Twitter: @Cavinceworld.