"The Security Council needs to do some deep thinking in helping Africa achieve lasting peace," Zhang told a Security Council open debate convened by China on the theme "Peace and security in Africa: capacity-building for sustaining peace."
Considering China’s own development experience, experience from China-Africa cooperation, and the historical lessons from all over the world, China believes that to help Africa achieve long-term stability, it is imperative to make sustained and increased investments, have long-term thinking, and build a strong foundation for Africa to strengthen its own development capacity and improve its resilience to external shocks, he said.
"In this regard, capacity building is the most crucial part," Zhang noted.
The envoy urged support for African countries in strengthening governance capacity. "To enhance government capacity, we need to maintain the right direction and respect the independently chosen development pathway and social system by their peoples."
There should be no political conditions attached to aid, nor should there be interference in internal affairs of African countries, or to replace the role of local governments, he said.
For post-conflict countries, Zhang emphasized the need to support the newly established governments in exercising state authority, instead of endless criticism and fault-finding, let alone attempt of "democratic transformation" and arbitrary use of sanctions for exerting pressure.
It is important to support African countries in improving security sectors’ capacity to perform their duties. Heeding the complaints of African countries, it is necessary to conduct comprehensive reviews of some of the peacekeeping operations deployed by UN in Africa, and reform practices that do not fit the situation on the ground, he said.
Arms embargoes imposed by the Security Council on countries such as Sudan, South Sudan, Somalia and the Democratic Republic of the Congo have a negative impact on capacity building of security sectors in these countries, and need to be adjusted and lifted in time. The funding of the African Union-led peace operations has been a persistent difficulty, which calls for a solution, he said.
Zhang underscored the need to support African countries in improving their sustainable development capacities.
At present, the African continent is beset with economic, financial, food, energy and other challenges. These are related to a turbulent international situation, but the underlying cause is the unjust and unfair international economic order.
African countries have expressed strong wishes for the unfair treatment to end, and the international community has the obligation to support them by helping Africa industrialize, accelerate infrastructure modernization, achieve financial autonomy, and increase economic independence, he said.
"Developed countries should honor their commitments on climate financing as soon as possible, and make up for what they owed to Africa in history," he stressed.
Zhang also called for efforts to support African countries in building a bigger talent pool. "The international community should help African countries train more talents based on the urgent needs in reconstruction and social and economic development. There is a particular need to encourage countries affected by conflict to enhance policy support and resource input for youth and children, and expand special assistance in development and education."