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Remarks by Ambassador Dai Bing at the UN Security Council Debate on Peace and Security in Africa: Strengthening the Fight Against the Financing of Armed Groups and Terrorists Through the Illicit Trafficking of Natural Resources

2022-10-06 14:00

Mr. President,

The Chinese delegation once again congratulates Gabon on assuming the Security Council Presidency. We welcome for Foreign Minister Moussa as he provides over this meeting. State Council and Foreign Minister Wang Yi asked me to bring his warm greetings to His Excellency Foreign Minister, and reiterate China’s full support for Gabon's presidency. I believe that under Gabon’s leadership, the Council will have a very productive month. China will continue to strengthen its collaboration with Gabon and other African members of the Council to see that the Council plays its due role in resolving hotspot issues and addressing common challenges in Africa.

I thank Executive Director Ghada Waly and Commissioner Bankole Adeoye for the valuable briefings they made just know. I also listened carefully to Mr. Paul-Simon Handy’s statement.

Africa is a continent with rich natural resources and great development potential. In recent years, many African countries have formulated resource development policies suited to their national conditions, developed energy and mining industries in an orderly manner, advanced industrialization, and the made remarkable achievements in sustainable development. At the same time, in some conflict areas, illegal exploitation and trafficking of natural resources, including wildlife resources, run rampant, profiting armed groups and terrorist forces and becoming an important conflict trigger and enabler. As said by the foreign minister, natural resources should not become a curse for African countries’ peace and development. The international community should pay close attention to the issue, and support and assist African countries in making effective responses. I would like to make the following points.

First, we should help African governments strengthen the capacity to manage natural resources. It is a country’s sovereign rights to appropriately protect, use and manage its natural resources. But the premise is that the national governments exercise effective control over resource territories, without which development is out of the question, and armed groups and terrorist organizations are free to profit from illegal trafficking. Enhanced governance capacity can effectively squeeze the space of illegal trafficking of resources for illicit gains. As we have seen, the Government of Mozambique has recovered territories in the north from the terrorists with the help of SADC, creating a favorable environment for oil and gas development. The Central African Republic Government has expanded exercise of state power and put diamond trade and export under regulation. The international community should give full support to African governments’ leading role in resource management, and help governments in conflict-affected countries to improve capacity in industrial planning, financial oversight and security enforcement to transform their resource advantage into an edge in development.

Second, we should support African countries in deepening regional cooperation and jointly tackling challenges. Recent years saw active cross-border activities of armed groups and terrorist organizations. Al-Shabaab frequently operated in Somalia's neighboring countries such as Ethiopia and Kenya. Sahel terrorism forces have spilled over to countries along the Gulf of Guinea. And in central Africa and the Great Lakes region, armed groups are in the thick of cross-border trafficking of natural resources. To solve these problems, countries in the region need to work together to strengthen cooperation in joint law enforcement and border control to crackdown on illegal trafficking of natural resources. Equally important is to develop legal trade, leverage comparative advantage, and build regional industrial and supply chains to unlock regional development potential. In this regard, the UN Office for the Great Lakes has made great efforts to promote the transparent and sustainable development of natural resources in the region. The AU and other regional and sub-regional organizations have supported African countries in strengthening resource management and fostering regional cooperation, and have made positive progress, The international community should give strong support to such efforts, so that natural resources can truly become a blessing for regional countries’ development.

Third, we should focus on systematic and underlying issues and promote sustainable development. Armed groups and terrorist forces tend to thrive in underdeveloped regions. Local population’s involvement in illegal trafficking is often driven by poverty, unemployment and other livelihood concerns. This situation is exacerbated by the severe inadequacy of international development and humanitarian assistance to Africa. In the final analysis, sustainable and inclusive development is key to achieving long-term stability and lasting peace. China hosted the ministerial meeting of the GDI Group of Friends during the high-level week of the UN General Assembly, and announced seven major actions to implement the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, with a view to promoting alignment of development strategies among countries and regional organizations, and garnering more resources and means for the maintenance of peace and security. We hope that the international community, especially developed countries, will honor their commitments, step up the efforts to help Africa eradicate poverty, ensure food security, accelerate infrastructure development, and promote education and employment, and provide more substantive development assistance.

Fourth, we should work to establish a more fair and equitable global resource value system. In some African countries, we see some strange situations in the development of natural resources. Some have rich mineral resources, but are financially strapped as a country. Some have outrageously high gasoline and diesel prices as a large crude oil producer. While some western energy and mining businesses have their windfalls in Africa, local populations are getting poorer. The underlying cause of this strangeness is the unfair and inequitable international economic order, which has chronically trapped African countries at the low end of the global industrial chain. This situation should be changed as soon as possible. The international community should support Africa’s efforts to derive more added-value from their natural resources and lift their position in the global value chain. Relevant countries shall lifted unilateral sanctions to reduce the negative impacts on the exploitation of natural resources and export revenue generation in Africa.

Mr. President,

China has always supported African countries in their sound development and utilization of natural resources under the FOCAC and BRI frameworks following the principle of equality, mutual benefit and win-win cooperation. In China’s friendly cooperation with Africa, we attach great importance to the coordinated development of economic, social and environmental aspects, and strive to help African countries achieve sustainable development and improve the well-being of local population. China will continue to work with the international community to support African countries in harnessing their natural resource dividend and making greater contribution to maintaining peace and stability and achieving common development.

Thank you, Mr. President.

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