China Emphasises Win Win Cooperation With Africa

Uhuru in China for trade talks days after hosting UK PM Theresa May

"Since its establishment, the FOCAC has upheld the principle of extensive consultation, joint contribution and shared benefits, and become a forum featuring equality, practicality and efficiency, President Xi Jinping, will deliver a keynote speech, comprehensively expounding on China's new ideas and proposals for enhancing its relations with Africa, as well as announce China's new actions and measures for its practical cooperation with Africa". Djibouti has become heavily dependent on Chinese financing after China opened its first overseas military base in the Horn of Africa country previous year, a powerful signal of the continent's strategic importance to Beijing. "Resources for our cooperation are not to be spent on any vanity projects but in places where they count the most", he said.

The initiatives include infrastructure connectivity, green development, and health care, as well as peace and security.

Xi, however, stressed, that Belt and Road "is not a scheme to form an exclusive club or bloc against others".

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

President Buhari who is also the chairman of ECOWAS addressed the Chinese and African leaders and business representatives at the opening ceremony of the high-level dialogue.

South African leader Cyril Ramaphosa who was also the co-chairperson of the session, said FOCAC refutes the misconception by some quarters that it is a new form of colonialism in Africa, pointing out that the Forum is on the contrary beneficial to the people of China and Africa.

With all these developments, Africa Beyond Aid crusader Paul Kagame, President of Rwanda, maintains that "Africa is not a zero sum game".

Xi said their friendship was time-honored and that China's investment in Africa came with no political strings attached.

Xi also announced that China would waive the debt of the poorest African countries that have diplomatic ties with Beijing.

The participants are looking for ways to "advance common growth and development", said South Africa's foreign minister, Lindiwe Sisulu. Last year, China-Africa trade volume was $170 billion. Dozens of African leaders met with Xi ahead of the conference.

Xi told African counterparts and business leaders Monday that China's investments on the continent have "no political strings attached", even as Beijing is increasingly criticised over its debt-heavy projects overseas.

"We respect, love and support Africa", he said, adding that China would never interfere with the African people's chosen developmental path or its internal affairs, including through imposing its will.

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.

China has poured billions in loans for roads, railways, ports and other major infrastructure projects in Asia and Africa.

Nations across Africa are hoping that China's enthusiasm for infrastructure investment will help promote industrialisation on the continent.

The interest in the forum is a result of China's growing influence on the African continent and proves the FOCAC has been pragmatic and efficient, analysts said.

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.

A China- Africa environmental cooperation centre will be set up where research on environmental issues will be conducted.

Locals in other countries have complained about the practice of using Chinese labor for building projects and what are perceived as sweetheart deals for Chinese companies.

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