Ramaphosa: China is not trying to re-colonise Africa

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President Xi Jinping told African leaders on Monday that China's investments on the continent have "no political strings attached", pledging $60 billion in new development financing, even as Beijing is increasingly criticised over its debt-heavy projects overseas.

He says cooperation between China and Africa has brought about many fruits. "Resources for our cooperation are not to be spent on any vanity projects but in places where they count the most", he said.

President Xi said the initiative was not, "a scheme to form an exclusive club or bloc against others".

A study by the Center for Global Development, a US think-tank, found "serious concerns" about the sustainability of sovereign debt in eight Asian, European and African countries receiving Belt and Road funds.

China has established 54 Confucius Institutes and 27 Confucius classrooms in 41 African countries.

But South African President Cyril Ramaphosa defended China's involvement on the continent, saying FOCAC "refutes the view that a new colonialism is taking hold in Africa as our detractors would have us believe".

President Buhari also, on behalf of ECOWAS member states, appreciated the Chinese government for its increasing investment in the African sub-region with the aim of building a prosperous and shared future. "China dreams of national renewal and Africa of unity and invigoration and a day will come when both aspirations will be achieved", said Xi.

China will also expand its imports from Africa, especially for non-resources products, and will facilitate African financial institutions' bond issuances in China, Xi added.

Xi further announced that China will support the youth from Africa by offering them scholarships, training high calibre young people from the continent and launching Africa innovation centre and that of environment.

Speaking at the opening of a major summit with African leaders, Xi promised development that people on the continent could see and touch, but that would also be green and sustainable.

The exemption, he said, will be granted to Africa's least developed countries, heavily indebted and poor countries, landlocked and small island developing countries that have diplomatic relations with China.

He added that China values sincerity and trust in pursuit of partnership cooperation and has neither any attachments to the strength in the continent nor seek any gains while cooperating with Africa.

The meeting will also review the progress of the outcomes of the Johannesburg summit, during which President Xi Jinping announced 10 major co-operation plans to promote industrialisation and agricultural modernisation in Africa.

African Union Commission chairman Moussa Faki acknowledged that concerns have been expressed about debt, but said "the risks must be put into perspective" as "Africa's financing needs are such that it must seize every opportunity offered to it".

China, he said, would set up a peace and security fund in partnership with Africa.

Ramaphosa warned that the benefits of globalization have not been equally distributed between countries, resulting in a "fractured world where some powers are prone to unilateral and protectionist measures".

Ramaphosa's comprehensive speech, coming after his summit co-chairperson and Chinese President Xi Jinping committed an additional $60 billion investment to Africa over the next three years, appeared to hit the right notes.

Rather than exporting a mass of raw materials, as Africa has traditionally done with its Asian partners, importing natural resources from China could open an abundance of employment for African countries. [Consultation Mechanism] As prescribed in the Program for China-Africa Cooperation in Economic and Social Development, adopted at the 2000 Ministerial Conference of FOCAC, China and Africa agreed to set up joint follow-up mechanisms to conduct regular evaluations on the implementation of the follow-up actions.

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