On August 24, the China-Africa Internet Development and Cooperation Forum with the theme of "Pursuing Common Development and Security, Jointly Building a Community with a Shared Future in Cyberspace" was held virtually. The Forum was hosted by the Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC) and attended by representatives from 14 African countries and the African Union Commission. At the opening ceremony of the Forum, Mr. Zhuang Rongwen, Minister of CAC, proposed in his speech that CAC would launch the Initiative on China-Africa Jointly Building a Community with a Shared Future in Cyberspace. The full text of the Initiative on China-Africa Jointly Building a Community with a Shared Future in Cyberspace is published as follows:

Initiative on China-Africa Jointly Building a Community With a Shared Future in Cyberspace

At the second World Internet Conference in 2015, Chinese President Xi Jinping put forward four principles and a five-point proposal on global development and governance of the Internet. He advocated maintaining peace and security in cyberspace and respecting sovereignty in cyberspace, and unveiled the vision of building a community with a shared future in cyberspace, offering China's wisdom and approach to the global development and governance of the Internet. The current context highlights greater prominence and urgency to the building of a community with a shared future in cyberspace. China calls on Chinese and African governments, Internet companies, technical communities, social organizations and individual citizens to take the approach to global governance, which is based on extensive consultation, joint contribution and shared benefits, uphold the philosophy of “achieving shared development, ensuring common security, realizing joint governance, and enjoying benefits together”, and work together to build cyberspace into a community where we can jointly advance development, safeguard security, participate in governance, and share the benefits. To this end, we would like to propose the following and welcome the support and participation of African countries:

Achieving shared development

1. Improving Internet access and promoting connectivity. We should further advance cooperation in communication infrastructure such as optical cable backbone networks and international submarine cables. On the basis of respecting sovereignty in cyberspace and Internet policies of individual countries, we should explore acceptable means of expanding Internet access and connection, and deliver development opportunities brought by the Internet to more developing countries and peoples.

2. Advancing information infrastructure construction. We need to work together to enhance cooperation in information infrastructure construction, operation and service capacity. Support should be given to the construction, application and development of 5G, Internet of Things, and industrial Internet, in an effort to foster new drivers of economic growth and boost economic recovery and development.

3. Enhancing ICT-enabled public service capacity. We should enhance experience sharing and cooperation in the use of digital technologies to respond to such public emergencies as epidemics and natural disasters, as well as support African countries in building smart cities and improving e-government and online education.

4. Integrating digital technologies with industrial development for economic transformation and upgrading. It is important to integrate digital technologies with traditional industries through further application of digital, network and intelligent technologies in industries and promote economic transformation and upgrading.

Ensuring common security

5. Strengthening strategic mutual trust in cyberspace. Cooperation and dialogues at regional, multilateral, bilateral and multi-party levels need to be promoted in a bid to jointly maintain peace and stability in cyberspace and strengthen strategic trust among countries. We oppose acts of attacks, deterrence and blackmailing in cyberspace, stand against conducting activities that undermine other countries’ national security and public interests through the use of ICTs, and guard against arms race in cyberspace as well as attempts to politicize technical issues, so as to create a peaceful environment for development.

6. Stepping up protection of critical information infrastructure. We should step up cooperation in early-warning and prevention, information sharing and emergency response, and actively engage in experience exchanges in the protection of critical information infrastructure. We stand against impairing the critical information infrastructure or stealing important data of other countries through the use of ICTs.

7. Improving data security management and personal information protection. It is imperative to regulate the practices of collecting, storing, using, processing, transmitting, providing,disclosing and deleting data so as to protect personal information rights and interests. International exchanges and cooperation should be advanced in the fields of data security, personal information protection and relevant rules and standards, and efforts should be made to promote mutual recognition among countries on rules and standards on personal information protection in line with the purposes of the UN Charter. Companies should not pre-install backdoors, malicious codes and so on in their information technology equipment, nor steal data when providing products and services. We welcome African countries’ support for and participation in the Global Initiative on Data Security.

8. Intensifying international cooperation on combating cybercrimes and cyberterrorism. We should take actions to crack down upon cybercrimes, especially their eco-system and chains, and further improve mechanism building on combating cybercrimes and cyberterrorism. We should support and take an active part in the negotiations on the global convention against cybercrimes under the framework of the United Nations. Effective coordination on legislations and practices of different countries should be made in a joint effort to tackle the threats of cybercrimes and cyberterrorism.

Realizing joint governance

9. Giving full play to the UN’s main-channel role in global governance in cyberspace. We welcome the UN Open-ended Working Group (OEWG) and the Group of Governmental Experts (GGE) to adopt reports, and support formulating codes, norms and principles of responsible state conduct in cyberspace that are acceptable to all parties under the UN framework.

10. Improving the international governance system that is shared and governed by all. We support the roles of the Internet Governance Forum (IGF), the World Internet Conference (WIC), the Mobile World Congress (MWC), the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) and other platforms and promote the creation of more platforms for China-Africa digital cooperation.

11. Participating in Internet infrastructure resource management on an equal footing. The availability and reliability of Internet infrastructure resources for each country should be guaranteed and efforts should be made to promote joint management and fair distribution of Internet infrastructure resources for the international community.

12. Promoting capacity building on cyberspace governance. We call on China and African countries to establish multi-channel exchange platforms, deepen talent exchanges and cooperation in the field of digital innovation and promote dialogues and exchanges between think tanks in a bid to help African countries improve their capacity of participating in cyberspace governance.

Enjoying benefits together

13. Sharing the benefits of e-commerce. We need to smooth trade channels and carry out e-commerce cooperation so as to facilitate the flow of African quality products into Chinese markets.

14. Bringing more opportunities to MSMEs in the digital economy. Efforts should be made to assist MSMEs to utilize new generation information technologies for innovation in products, services, processes, and organizational and business modes so as to create more jobs and help MSMEs join the global value chains.

15. Strengthening support and assistance to the vulnerable groups and leaving no one behind. We encourage experience sharing on Internet-enabled targeted poverty alleviation to promote China-Africa cooperation in poverty reduction. More products and services suitable for the elderly, the disabled, women and children should be developed to improve digital skills of the vulnerable groups for promotion and improvement of digital literacy among the public.

16. Contributing to the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. We call on all countries to set great store by the concerns of developing countries, bridge the digital divide and promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth and social development with ICTs as an enabler.

The Internet is a shared home for mankind. We stand ready to work with African countries to seize the opportunities and address the challenges, so as to jointly build a closer community with a shared future in cyberspace towards a brighter future for humankind.

Cyberspace Administration of China

August 25, 2021