For China, 2021 was a year filled with accomplishments. The Communist Party of China (CPC) celebrated its 100th anniversary of founding. China has achieved the First Centennial Goal of realising a moderately prosperous society in all respects as scheduled. China is now marching on a new journey toward the Second Centennial Goal of building a modern socialist country.
In 2021, China’s GDP grew by 8.1% on a year-on-year basis to about US$17.7trillion – the second largest worldwide and over 18% of the global total – realising the dual targets of higher growth and lower inflation. Total value of imports & exports of goods amounted to US$6.05trillion, up 21.4% over 2020. GDP per capita reached US$12,551, exceeding the global average.
2021 was also a year filled with challenges. As changes of our era combine with a once-in-a-century pandemic, the world has entered into a new period of turbulence and transformation. How to beat the pandemic and how to build COVID-adjusted world? These are major issues of common concern to people around the world. President Xi Jinping shared the C.H.I.N.A. answer at the 2022 World Economic Forum Virtual Session.
C – Cooperate against COVID-19
Small boats may not survive a storm, only a giant ship can brave a storm. Strong confidence and close cooperation are the only right ways to defeat the pandemic. Holding each other back or shifting blame will 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; and in particular ensure the equitable distribution of vaccines, speed up vaccination and close the global immunisation gap so as to scale up efforts to build a global community of health for all.
As a responsible stakeholder that delivers on its promises, China has sent over 2 billion doses of vaccines to more than 120 countries and international organisations. Still, China will provide another 1 billion doses to African countries, including 600 million doses as a donation.
H – Handle risks to reboot recovery
The world economy is emerging from the depths, yet it still faces a myriad of constraints such as industrial and supply chain disruption, commodity price rises, tight energy supply, and multiple-factor inflation risk. If major economies slam on the brakes or make a U-turn in their monetary policies, there will be serious negative spillovers, posing challenges to global economic and financial stability – and developing countries would bear the brunt of it.
We need to explore new drivers of economic growth, facilitate cross-border trade, keep industrial and supply chains secure and smooth, and strengthen macro-policy coordination. Countries around the world should uphold true multilateralism, remove barriers instead of erecting walls, and seek integration instead of decoupling so as to build an open world economy.
We should guide reforms of the global governance system with the principle of fairness and justice, uphold the multilateral trading system with the World Trade Organisation at its centre, and make economic globalisation more open, inclusive, balanced and beneficial for all. Major developed countries should adopt responsible economic policies, manage policy spillovers and avoid severe impacts on developing countries.
I – Initiate Global Development Agenda
The process of global development is suffering from severe disruption, entailing more outstanding problems like a widening North-South gap, divergent recovery trajectories, development fault-lines and a technological divide. No matter what difficulties may come our way, we must adhere to a people-centred philosophy of development and build greater synergy among existing mechanisms of development cooperation to promote balanced development worldwide.
We need to implement the outcomes of COP26 to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, under the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities. Developed economies should take the lead in honouring their emissions-reduction responsibilities, deliver on their commitment of financial and technological support, and create the necessary conditions for developing countries to address climate change and achieve sustainable development.
Last year, President Xi Jinping put forward a Global Development Initiative at the UN General Assembly that aims to form synergy with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and boost common development across the world. China stands ready to work with all partners to jointly translate the Initiative into concrete actions and make sure that no country is left behind in this process.
N – No cold-war mentality
History has proved time and again that confrontation only invites catastrophes rather than solutions. Acts of overstretching the concept of national security to hold back economic and technological advances of other countries, and of fanning ideological antagonism and politicising/weaponising economic, scientific and technological issues will gravely undercut international efforts to tackle common challenges.
The right way forward for humanity is peaceful development and win-win cooperation. Different countries and civilizations may prosper together on the basis of mutual respect, and reach common ground and win-win outcomes by shelving differences. We should work for a stable international order, advocate common values of humanity, and build a community with a shared future for mankind. We should choose dialogue over confrontation, inclusiveness over exclusion, and stand against all forms of unilateralism, protectionism, hegemony or power politics.
A – Abide by promises
2022 is a crucial year for China to implement the 14th Five-Year Plan. We will hold the 20th National Congress of the CPC. Looking ahead, we will:
Stay committed to pursuing high-quality development
“The wealth of a country is measured by the abundance of its people.” We are working hard to achieve common prosperity of the entire population, which is not egalitarianism. To use an analogy, we will first make the pie bigger, and then divide it properly through reasonable institutional arrangements. As a rising tide lifts all boats, everyone will get a fair share from development in a more substantial and equitable way.
Stay committed to reform and opening-up
Whatever change occurs in the international landscape, China will always hold high the banner of reform and opening-up. China will continue to let the market play a decisive role in resource allocation, and see to it that the government better plays its role. All types of capital are welcome to operate in China in compliance with laws and regulations. China will continue to expand high-standard opening-up; steadily advance institutional opening-up that covers rules, management and standards; deliver national treatment for foreign businesses; and promote high-quality Belt and Road cooperation.
Stay committed to promoting ecological conservation
Achieving carbon peak and carbon neutrality are the intrinsic requirements of China’s own high-quality development and a solemn pledge to the international community. We have unveilled an Action Plan for Carbon Dioxide Peaking Before 2030, and now have the world’s biggest carbon market and biggest clean power generation system. China will also push for international cooperation on climate and jointly work for a complete transition to a greener economy and society.
Dear friends, the Beijing Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games will open in about two weeks. We are confident that China will present a simple, safe and splendid Games to the world. “Together for a Shared Future!”
In just a few days, we will celebrate the lunar New Year, the Year of the Tiger. On behalf of the Chinese Embassy in Ghana, I wish all the Chinese in Ghana good health & luck in the year of the tiger. I wish my motherland prosperity with the vigour of a tiger. Finally, I sincerely wish all Ghanaian friends peace, health, happiness and prosperity in the Year of the Tiger!
The writer is the Chinese Ambassador to Ghana