Chinese Premier Li Keqiang will pay official visits to Ethiopia, Nigeria, Angola and Kenya between May 4th and 11th. This is Li’s first visit to Africa since assuming the role of Premier in 2013. Li’s trip coincides with the 50th anniversary of late Chinese Premier Zhou Enlai’s first visit to Africa.
Chinese leaders have always attached great importance to developing relations with countries in Africa. The visit by late Chinese Premier Zhou Enlai was a milestone in China-Africa relations. He visited 10 African countries from the end of 1963 to the beginning of 1964.
Experts say Premier Li Keqiang’s visit to Ethiopia, Nigeria, Angola and Kenya comes at a significant time.
"This is exactly the 50th anniversary of the visit to Africa by former Premier Zhou Enlai. During his visit, Premier Zhou Enlai put forward the very famous eight principles for Chinese assistance to foreign countries and five principles for China’s ties with Africa. The new administration has shown that China will continue to pay great attention to relations with Africa." said He Wenping, Director of African Studies, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.
In the past 50 years, China and Africa have enjoyed profound friendship. 50 of the 54 countries in Africa have established diplomatic relations with China.
China has become Africa’s top business partner, and Africa is now China’s major import source. Many Chinese companies have invested in mining industries and infrastructure construction.
Experts say China-Africa ties are set to turn to an all-round new one comprising more social and cultural exchanges. This is a change from the old partnership driven by the economy and natural resources.
"In the past, the China and Africa relationship was more in the political and economic area. But in the future, I think cultural cooperation, security and peace cooperation, people to people contact will be paid great attention as well. We have already noticed during the fifth FOCAC meeting, those five priorities have been said by former President Hu Jintao very clearly. Those sectors have great potential for China and Africa to further develop." said He Wenping, Director of African Studies, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.
China is also now an important player in Africa’s peace and security challenges. China has dispatched peacekeepers to the Democratic Republic of Congo, Somali and Sudan, offering equipment support and financial aid to the peacekeeping mission.
It’s been 50 years since Premier Zhou Enlai visited Africa. China-Africa ties have stood the test of time over the past 5 decades. China Africa ties have Premier Li Keqiang’s visit to Africa is expected to take political and economic cooperation with the continent to new heights and strengthen the foothold of China’s new leadership’s diplomacy towards Africa.