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Africa’s contribution to human development cannot be ignored

China's President Xi Jinping and South Africa's President Cyril Ramaphosa arrive for the opening of the 10th BRICS Summit at the Sandton Convention Centre, Johannesburg. Picture: Itumeleng English/African News AgencyANA

China's President Xi Jinping and South Africa's President Cyril Ramaphosa arrive for the opening of the 10th BRICS Summit at the Sandton Convention Centre, Johannesburg. Picture: Itumeleng English/African News AgencyANA

Published Nov 25, 2021


Dr Iqbal Survé

TODAY’S world is moving toward greater multi-polarity, economic globalisation and cultural diversity and is becoming increasingly information-oriented.

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Acceptance and recognition of cultural diversity through innovative media and Information and Communications Technologies (ICTs) is conducive to dialogue among civilisations and cultures, respect and mutual understanding.

Three-quarters of the world's major conflicts have a cultural dimension. Bridging the gap between cultures is urgent and necessary for peace, stability and development.

Cultural diversity is a driving force of development concerning economic growth and leading a more fulfilling intellectual, emotional, moral and spiritual life.

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This diversity is captured in the cultural conventions, which provide a solid basis for promoting cultural diversity. Cultural diversity is thus an asset that is indispensable for poverty reduction and the achievement of sustainable development.

To meet our everyday challenges and create a better future for all, we look to culture and civilisation to play their role, which is as vital as the economy, science and technology.

Africa is the ancestral home to the human community and many of the pivotal breakthroughs in the history of civilisation. Yet, the continent continues to be stereotyped as an isolated and underdeveloped region in the mind of outsiders, devoid of any profound historical achievements.

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Africa’s contributions to the human community’s development of art and language, writing and religion, agriculture and government, and the arts and sciences are commonly misunderstood or ignored.

As a communicator, facilitator, participant and contributor of civilisation, media companies should eliminate the barrier of mistrust and misunderstanding that plagues the communications between countries and regions.

Each civilisation has a distinctive worth of its own. We shall give voice to countries irrespective of their size and build a platform for diverse cultures and societies to share and compare notes.

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Independent Media Group strives, through its journalism, to end this ignorance about the African past, reveal how Africans shaped the history of their continent, and how profoundly and extensively Africa has shaped the contours of our modern world.

The 4th World Media Summit is convened just for this purpose. It creates a new platform for civilisations to engage in dialogue and exchanges on an equal footing to facilitate mutual learning.

Covid-19 remains an urgent challenge facing the international community, including China and Africa. Since it broke out, the China-Africa relationship has been further elevated as both sides stand shoulder-to-shoulder in the fight.

The friendship between the two sides has been enhanced in the fight against the pandemic. We have seen numerous touching stories of China-Africa friendship during this period, all worth recording through a lens. In the history of traditional friendship between China and Africa, levels of mutual understanding can always touch people’s hearts, regardless of time and distance.

At the beginning of this year, State Councillor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi visited five African countries. This official visit, one worth recording, follows the 30-year-long tradition of choosing Africa as the first destination the foreign ministers overseas visit every year.

More than 1 100 China-Africa co-operation projects have continued to operate during this challenging time. China and Africa are actively preparing for the new FOCAC (Forum on China-Africa Co-operation) meeting in Senegal by the end of this year, an occasion for the two sides to jointly plan for win-win co-operation and joint development at a higher level.

People-to-people exchanges and learning from each other enrich and invigorate civilisations.

As one of the Presidium members of the BRICS Media Forum, Independent Media also participated in the BRICS International Journalism Training Programme. President Xi Jinping said that the future of China-Africa relations lies in our young people. Younger generations from China and Africa are playing an increasingly important role in developing their respective countries and boosting China-Africa cooperation. They are the source of strength for the flourishing of relations.

I hope that more people from Africa and China will participate in this programme to capture the vivid images of China-Africa’s practical co-operation and friendly exchanges.

It will provide us with a platform to carry forward traditional friendship, promote people-to-people bonds under the Belt and Road framework, and contribute to building an even closer China-Africa community with a shared future.

This year marks the 65th anniversary of the inauguration of diplomatic ties between China and African countries. After decades of diligent nurturing, the seeds of China-Africa relations have grown into towering trees. The fruits of our friendly co-operation benefit people both in China and Africa.

There are too many touching stories and beautiful moments during the course; each of us may have our level of China-Africa friendship to tell, so let’s use our cameras and mobile phones to record them.

These moving stories shall serve as a bridge for people to acquire a more in-depth understanding of the ever-stronger China-Africa friendship and a more comprehensive understanding of the China-Africa co-operation with mutual benefits and win-win results. We will also gain a better understanding of the vision of a China-Africa community with a shared future.

The 4th World Media Summit has a wide-ranging agenda, and I look forward to your keen perspectives and insights. We will create an even better tomorrow for civilisations in Africa and beyond by putting our heads together!

This is an edited version of Dr Iqbal Survé’s statement to the 4th World Media Summit held in Beijing, People’s Republic of China, on Monday.