China’s Development in the New Era: Opportunities for Africa and The Gambia

Thursday, November 30, 2017

The recent 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China attracted worldwide attention as it has huge influence on China and the world at large. The most significant outcome of the Congress is the formation and establishment of Xi Jinping’s thought on socialism with Chinese characteristics for a new era. The most important message is that socialism with Chinese characteristics enters a new era, in other words, a new era for China’s development has been ushered in.

How can one properly understand that China’s development has entered a new era?

Firstly, China has undergone unprecedented transformation and achieved miraculous development in recent decades. China’s social productive capacity has stood at the forefront of the world in many measurements, and its international status and influence have greatly improved.

Since the reform and opening up policy was implemented, China’s economy has experienced a rapid development for nearly 40 years. Its total economic volume has risen from the 11th in the world to the second in the world. China has now become the world’s biggest manufacturer; biggest exporter of goods and a major investor around the world.

In the past five years in particular, confronted with sluggish world economy, China has remained committed to the approach of innovative, coordinated, green, open and sharing development which is meant to benefit everyone. At the same time, China endeavors to transform the economic growth model and enhance the quality of development. China has maintained a medium-high growth rate over the years. Its GDP has increased from 8.2 trillion USD to 12 trillion USD, ranking second in the world and contributing more than 30% to world economic growth. Among many, China has also made great achievements in poverty reduction and urbanization. Thus, China has stood at a new historical point and entered a new phase of development. 

Secondly, China has set clear goals and a roadmap for its development in the next 30 or so years. By 2020, China will lift the remaining 40 million rural poor people out of poverty, eradicating poverty in a large country with a population of over 1.3 billion and meet the United Nations goal of wiping out poverty in all its forms 10 years ahead of the 2030 deadline. All Chinese people will be able to live a decent life with basic social security. That in China is called a well-off society in all aspects. China is now well on track to achieve that goal in 2020.

From 2020 to 2035, China will continue to build on the foundation created by the fulfillment of the 2020 development goal to reach higher level of development. That is to basically realize socialist modernization by 2035. China will then become a global leader in innovation and its middle-income population further expanded, the modernization of China’s system and capacity for governance is basically achieved, and there is a fundamental improvement in the environment, and the society is of full vitality and in harmony.

From 2035 to the middle of the 21st century, China will not relent in its efforts to develop China further into a great modern socialist country that is prosperous, strong, democratic, culturally advanced, harmonious, and beautiful. By then, China will become a global leader in terms of composite national strength and international influence, and common prosperity for every Chinese will be basically achieved.

Thirdly, China in the new era still faces many daunting tasks and challenges. The most prominent one is its unbalanced and inadequate development. The unbalanced development mainly refers to the imbalance of development in various fields and regions, restricting the improvement of overall national level. Inadequacy in development mainly refers to the lack of development in some areas and fields. The tasks for development in those areas and fields remain heavy. China’s per capita GDP still ranks between 70th to 80th in the world. China continues to face the huge pressure from its huge population relative to resources and environment. The country is still and will long remain in the primary stage of socialism. China is still the world’s largest developing country. Precisely for this reason, China still has great potential and space for development. The rapid and continuous development of China will continue for a long time. China’s development will make great contribution and bring more opportunities to the development of the world.

What will China’s foreign policy in the new era bring for Africa and The Gambia?

China will continue to adhere to the path of peaceful development,  take an active part in reforming and developing the global governance system, and promote a new form of state-state relations featuring mutual respect, fairness and justice, and win-win cooperation. Working together with others, China strives to build a community with a shared future for mankind, and build an open, inclusive, clean, and beautiful world that enjoys lasting peace, universal security, and common prosperity.

Entering a new era, China will, guided by the principle of upholding justice while pursuing shared interests and the principle of sincerity, real results, affinity, and good faith, work to strengthen solidarity and cooperation with other developing countries. No matter what stage of development China achieves and no matter how the international situation changes, China will always stand firmly with the developing countries and always be a reliable partner and sincere friend of the developing countries. China will increase assistance to other developing countries, especially the least developed countries. China supports the efforts of other developing countries to increase their representation and strengthen their voice in international affairs.

Africa is the bedrock foundation in China’s diplomacy. Sharing joys and sorrows, China and Africa have always been a community with a shared future, win-win cooperation and common interests. The development of China has expanded avenue for African countries to modernization and prosperity. China is willing to deepen mutual understanding and political trust and exchange experiences in governance, poverty reduction and development with African countries including The Gambia,

China will step up its assistance to the least developed countries in Africa. It will strengthen mutually beneficial cooperation, promote people-to-people exchanges and mutual understanding and support on the issues of each other’s core interests and major concern. As China-Africa and China-Gambia relations are set to develop into a higher level, China will help The Gambia and other African countries more to accelerate the process of sustainable self development and to realize a true community of shared future for China and Africa.

(By H.E. ZHANG Jiming, Ambassador of the People’s Republic of China to The Gambia)

Source: Picture: H.E. ZHANG Jiming, Ambassador of the People’s Republic of China to The Gambia