China's Africa venture bolts the continent

15:42, November 06, 2009      

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By Li Hong, People's Daily Online

When a new round of Africa-China friendship forum opens in Cairo over the weekend, Chinese and Western press corps will put on another show of starkly differing reportage: with one espousing the increasingly fruitful cooperation between China and the continent, while the other pecking at Chinese oblivion of the Western-set norms by investing billions of dollars in the countries which they describe as lacking human rights or legitimate governance.

Many in the Western press are also expected to adopt scathing sarcasm at Chinese business's insatiable greed for minerals and crude oil in Africa in order to soothe an energy hunger and a booming economy at home. Some will go so far as to re-brand China as a country engaging in "neo colonialism" which is pigheaded towards exploiting the resources and driving Africa to depth of poverty.

However, truth speaks louder. Quite a few countries in the neglected continent are experiencing economic growth and residents there have begun to enjoy a rising livelihood that they long ago had longed for. It is indisputable the huge Chinese investments thronging to Africa are creating jobs, improving infrastructure and adding to life amenities there. When a sleeping continent is aroused, like China itself was awakened in 1978 by Mr. Deng Xiaoping, sizzling changes for the better are to come.

After all, Chinese businesses are not merely eyeing on African resources, they are paving roads and ports, building schools, bridges, stadiums and houses, setting up manufacturing factories, laying telecommunication cables, shepherding and expanding rice plantations in Africa.

Trade volume between China and the continent has witnessed annual 30 percent high growth rate in the past five years. Last year, two-way trade exceeded US$100 billion, two years ahead of a planned agenda. When an economy as big as China's US$4.6 trillion is interacted with a continent waiting for its turn to rise, the magic is ensured, and, it is win-win.

Premier Wen Jiabao will wine with African leaders in Egypt. A close look into his key-note speech to the forum will detect new initiatives, which shows Beijing's determination to extend cooperation scale with Africa. Some analysts have said China is going to announce fatter loans and credit to support African countries' efforts to take off quickly and substantively. After a country's general well-being is advanced, the wealth and opportunities will trickle down to individual families -–the rationale the same as a tide lifting all boats.

Beijing will continue to follow its past practice that it does not attach any preconditions to its assistance to Africa, senior government officials have pledged. The "no-strings-attached" way of investment has drawn the ire of a few Western developed countries, because posing nose at others' internal affairs isn't Chinese norm of doing business. Besides, China-Africa trade ties are quite supplementary, and benefiting either party.

One African diplomat positioned in Beijing once said: In early 1970s when China rejoined the United Nations, African countries held China on their shoulders. And now China has returned the favor as an act of grace. Both Chinese and African people are modest, and they have been supporting each other in world affairs. On the road to development and prosperity, they have a sea of friendship to bolster them up.

The new kind of partnership China and Africa jointly defined in 2006 at the Beijing summit is based firmly on traditional friendship, mutual respect and their co-aspiration to enrich themselves. Once Africa stands up, eliminating hundreds years of poverty and isolation, nobody is to neglect the continent again.

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