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Home Opinion World needs to foster new opportunities amidst crises: Xi Jinping

World needs to foster new opportunities amidst crises: Xi Jinping

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Zero-sum approach that enlarges one’s own gain at the expense of others will not help

Five years ago, Chinese President Xi Jinping spoke at the World Economic Forum (WEF) 2017, focused on how China views and promotes globalization, the trend of the times, and called for a balanced, equitable and inclusive development model.
Time flies, and the world is moving so fast. Today, the world is not only undergoing major changes unseen in a century, but also entering the post-pandemic era. With a global pandemic continuing into the third year, uncertain momentum in the world economic recovery, a yawning North-South development gap, and surging countercurrents of protectionism and unilateralism, the world finds itself in a new period of turbulence and transformation.
At this crucial moment, the Chinese President delivered another address at the WEF 2022, and the theme for his address this year is how to create a better post-COVID world. In this address, China’s top leader elaborated in a systemic manner on topics including globalization, a community with a shared future for mankind, multilateralism, China’s high quality development and commitment to reform and opening-up. He showed the world clearly what China advocates, what it opposes, and what it will do.
Xi reiterated many of the same points regarding multilateralism and globalization that we have heard previously, but two things new standing out are the point about jointly defeat the pandemic and the macro-policy coordination in world.
Close the global immunization gap
Nowadays, new variants keep charging at our line of defence forged with vaccines, and the immunization gap between developed and developing countries is still widening. For example, all but one of Africa’s 54 nations are rolling out COVID-19 vaccines and around 250 million doses have been given on the continent, yet just 3% of the almost 8 billion doses given globally have been administered in Africa, and at the same time, vaccination rates in high-income countries are shamefully seven times higher than in African countries.
According to the wooden barrel theory, the capacity of a barrel is determined by the shortest stave. That is the reason why Xi pointed out that strong confidence and cooperation represent the only right way to defeat the pandemic. Holding each other back or shifting blame would only cause needless delay in response and distract us from the overall objective. Countries need to strengthen international cooperation against COVID-19, carry out active cooperation on research and development of medicines, jointly build multiple lines of defense against the coronavirus, and speed up efforts to build a global community of health for all. What is of particular importance is to fully leverage vaccines as a powerful weapon, ensure their equitable distribution, quicken vaccination and close the global immunization gap, so as to truly safeguard people’s lives, health and livelihoods.
And according to the data announced by Chinese government, China has provided more doses overseas than any other country. One in every two shots administered globally is from China. The first batch of vaccines to arrive in many countries, especially developing countries, came from China. Most of the shots they have administered to date are also from China. As the Chinese leader announced not long ago, China will provide another one billion doses to African countries, including 600 million as donation.
Strengthen Macro-Policy Coordination
The world economy is emerging from the depths, yet it still faces many constraints. President Xi invoked an interesting illustration that countries are not riding separately in some 190 small boats, but are rather all in a giant ship sharing a common future amidst the raging pandemic. Meanwhile global cooperation should go well not only at the medical level, but also into other important areas, including the economic sphere. Later in his speech, after mentioning the prospect of inflationary pressures, he said, “If major economies slam on the brakes or take a U-turn in their monetary policies, there would be serious negative spillovers. They would present challenges to global economic and financial stability, and developing countries would bear the brunt of it.”
Actulally, in the context of ongoing COVID-19 response, the global need to explore new drivers of economic growth, new modes of social life and new pathways for people-to-people exchanges, in a bid to facilitate cross-border trade, keep industrial and supply chains secure and smooth, and promote steady and solid progress in global economic recovery. By that, it is very clear that the Chinese leader was referring to the expectation of some developed countries to tighten up monetary policy and raise interest rates, which will in turn have a profound negative impact on emerging market economies, especially those countries that have a large amount of external debt, and we have already observed this severe problem.
Just as Xi emphasiezed, major economies should see the world as one community, think in a more systematic way, increase policy transparency and information sharing, and coordinate the objectives, intensity and pace of fiscal and monetary policies. Major developed countries should adopt responsible economic policies, manage policy spillovers, and avoid severe impacts on developing countries. International economic and financial institutions should play their constructive role to pool global consensus, enhance policy synergy and prevent systemic risks. It demonstrated China’s sense of responsibility as a major country and firm will to always proceed from the common interests of all humanity, work in solidarity with others to jointly deal with global challenges, and strive to forge a community with a shared future for mankind.
Ethiopia, like other countries in the world, has fought hard in containing the virus and reinvigorating the economy. Addressing the fallouts and looking forward to post-COVID recovery, Ethiopian government has adopted comprehensive response plans, for example, relief asssitance has reached families and businesses, in addition to tax cuts and liquidity support. For us all to navigate this trying time, cooperation and mutual help between China and Ethiopia is critically important.
As Comprehensive Strategic Cooperative Partners, the two countries have adopted development strategies that are highly compatible, and engaged in practical cooperation that sets the pace for China-Africa cooperation. We are complementary in infrastructure, energy, agriculture, human resources and other fields of cooperation, which are full of development potential. China has been Ethiopia’s top trading partner, source of destination and project contractor for consecutive years, and played a vital role in the industrialization and modernization of Ethiopia. We have every reason to firmly believe, through concerted efforts of Ethiopia and China, there will surely be an even brighter future for all!