Xi Jinping’s report to the 20th National Congress of the CPC: Lessons for Uganda and Africa

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By Alan Collins Mpewo

The Communist Party of China (CPC) is currently holding its 20th National Congress at the Great Hall of the people of Beijing. Chinese President Xi Jinping who doubles as party secretary general on behalf of CPC delivered to the Congress a report entitled “Hold High the Great Banner of Socialism with Chinese Characteristics and Strive in Unity to Build a Modern Socialist Country in All Respects.”

The report was so rich in as far as nationalism goes, but also addressed the contemporary issues that surrounding China within the greater global environment. There’s a lot of lessons to pick for the Global South, and specifically Uganda. China and its nationalists have metamorphosed the art of planning for the future while circumstances permit. This was equally showcased in the report. The aims for achieving endless innovation and creations on the new era, while also appreciating China’s relations with other global actors.

Culture is a commonly emphasized phenomenon, and there’s hardly a chance of not noticing Chinese culture whenever an individual meets Chinese Nationals. This ideal has for decades now been a foundation for running the Chinese society and governance systems. It’s one of the ideals that Uganda should look out for. An incorporation of the Uganda people’s ideals in administrative structures such as “Ubuntu – I am, because you are,” togetherness and always having second opinions before undertaking to fulfill some actions or omissions.

In President Xi Jinping’s words, he noted that “corruption is a cancer.” Uganda, just like numerous other countries in the world have for decades been struggling with ridding the vice from their communities. In some social spaces, it may have one thinking that it’s a common norm, and not a vice. China undertook the importance of such a robust fight against it, and because of that, it’s of no surprise that China is currently one of the leading economies. Uganda should therefore fast track and assert a better place on the global corruption index.

In his close to two hours speech, Xi emphasized the long Chinese tradition that “the country is its people.” This introduces the aspect of respect for governance structures and the understanding that without the citizens in a country, much would soon crumble. This, African countries can learn from that above ideal since it’s foundational especially in the arena of observance of fundamental human rights and freedoms. Whereas it’s not an indictment, most of countries in the global south have for long had challenges in appreciating the aspect of “country being its people” and such gives them a bad look. We can look at our shortcomings and find a common ground of reconciling with the fact that much efforts are still required to endeavor every citizen feels assertive of their connection to the country.

China’s national policy for opening up to the outside world was also reiterated. With this, China understands the role of international relations. Each year, China makes sure to create mutually beneficial new relations with the far global lands. With Uganda, China formed these relations as early as the 1960’s, yet still in 2022, the two countries are celebrating 60 years of diplomacy. This aspect shouldn’t be undermined and it has many lessons for Uganda to learn. The ability of making new relations with global actors, while maintaining them for many years is something not so many countries have managed to achieve. Often times, some of these countries end up being dictatorial onto other states.

Xi’s report re-emphasized respect for the other countries that China deals with. But while at it, China views the countries it relates with as partners while being guided by the principle of mutual respect. On global stage, other world players like the US should embrace that aspect of respecting other countries they deal with to ensure tranquility rather than seeking dominance, hegemony and confrontations and cold war mentality.

The report guides as to how far China has gone in as far as easing economic relationships with other global actors. Because of that, the economy has been infested with great strides in development. Numerous opportunities have also been created for the Chinese Nationals in other many partner states that China relates well with.

Lastly, the report highlighted a major, perhaps the most important aspect of the new prospective era – Technology advancement. As far as global growth goes, technology is the future, and without a doubt, the countries that fail to cope with the shifts, will face more complex times ahead. Uganda and African countries in general should also look at the aspect of planning for the future. Sparking a new revolution of science and technology through impactful research and government support for the many budding innovators within our countries. Uganda has a lot of potential in setting a revised approach to this phenomenon. Technology sharing would therefore be in sight if Uganda supports its STEM innovators and perhaps someday, Uganda, just like China, would become a benchmark as far as innovation goes.

Alan Collins Mpewo, is a lawyer and senior research Fellow at Development Watch Centre.



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