China Africa

22 November 2021

If Africa lifted 800 million people out of poverty and became the manufacturing and industrial hub of the world, because all the resources are found here anyway; if it developed state of the art infrastructure and logistic capabilities; if it designed and produced advanced high technological and communication capacities and positioned itself central to the current industrial revolution; if it pronounced that its international relations policy is on the basis of shared prosperity and has made significant contributions to many countries of the developing world, would you present accolades to its unprecedented development? Would you recommend nations to try to emulate its success, or would you consider Africa’s impressive rise to the number one spot in economic development a threat?

A Webinar on the 6th Plenary Session of the 19th CPC Central Committee held in Beijing from 8 to 11 November was organized by the Chinese Embassy in South Africa on 18 November 2021. 

CHEN Xiaodong, Chinese Ambassador to South Africa who delivered a comprehensive keynote address was joined by an esteemed panel of luminaries that included Lindiwe Zulu, Chairperson of the African National Congress International Relations Subcommittee and Minister of Social Development, Solly Mapaila, First Deputy General Secretary of the South African Communist Party, Dr David Monyae, Director of the Centre for Africa-China Studies at the University of Johannesburg and a recorded presentation by Ambassador Anil Sooklal, Deputy Director-General of DIRCO.

The most important outcome of this plenary session is the adoption of the Resolution on the Major Achievements and Historical Experience of the Party over the Past Century. The Resolution presents the Central Committee's new understanding of the Party's century-long struggle. It is a stellar Marxist guiding document.

It also is a political statement of Chinese Communists in the new era to develop socialism with Chinese characteristics, a guide for action to learn from history, usher in the future and rejuvenate the Chinese nation.

The most distinctive feature of the Resolution is that it is factual and respectful of history.

It reflects the original aspiration of the Party in its century-long struggle. It is in line with the Party's two previous historic Resolutions and also in line with new developments of the times.

The Resolution will go a long way to inspire the whole party to make strides toward a brighter future and toward our original goals explained Ambassador Chen.

A country is its people; and the people are the country. A robust, unified leadership at the core always puts the people highest on the agenda and draws from its wisdom and strength in terms of the feelings and thoughts of the people for political resolve and implementation of policy. The ability to adapt and reform to improve and maintain its integrity is also further strengthened. These are among the aspects of the changes and achievements of the party since the 18th National Congress.

The modernization of China’s capacity and system for governance has been significantly enhanced leading to more balanced economic development which is sustainable and secure with better quality, efficiency and standards. State of the art technology and communication combined with leading edge infrastructure and logistics have fashioned a sound atmosphere in which people are able to live and work in peace and contentment and for social stability and order to prevail.

The reunification of the nation was reaffirmed according to the one China principle. The military has taken concrete action to safeguard and secure the sovereignty on all fronts.   

Climate change mitigation and environmental protection endeavors have seen sweeping, historic, and transformative actions and is the direction of diplomacy for common humanity with a shared future.

Why are we missing the signals from China here in Africa, asked Monyae. Is it because of the lens we are looking through? He was referring to Africa’s development in relation to China who was also present at the first Asia Africa conference in Bandung, Indonesia in 1955. Reflecting on the gains Zulu pointed out the people-centred development and new breakthroughs ushering in socialism in the new era. Mapaila looked back at the history of the CPC and the SACP which were inspired by the Marxist doctrines and the October revolution. Sooklal commended the visionary leadership in China for the growth and prosperity that the country has achieved. From a per capita income of just USD$90 in 1960 to USD$11,000 in 2021, China’s development has certainly been unprecedented.

China’s vibrant and dynamic relations with South Africa are comprehensive and strategic and China remains committed to Africa and is determined and confident of deepening mutual trust moving forward hand in hand, concluded Ambassador Chen.

By Kirtan Bhana