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China’s development cooperation with Africa: a ‘win-win’ partnership

By Abu Bakarr Kargbo (People's Daily Online)    15:38, May 14, 2018

China and Africa are a closely allied community with a shared future. The cooperation is mutually between two brothers. No matter how the international situation or world economy may evolve, there is no weakening in China’s support for Africa. 

China, a reticent nation, is the world’s rising economic power, being the world’s second-largest economy, after the United States of America. It is the world’s biggest exporter and second largest importer. These expanding imports largely lend a hand in enhancing the country’s influence in the global market, something encouraging for developing nations, especially for third world nations.

China’s continued economic diplomacy through its ‘win-win’ approach could be of value more so in line with the “One belt, One Road”, which is a Chinese development initiative started in 2013.

Chinese President Xi Jinping remains committed and has pledged his country’s continuous support to strengthen China-Africa relations, even under harsh condition. Xi Jinping in 2015 announced a $60 billion funding support for Africa at the Summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) that was held in Johannesburg, South Africa.

FOCAC is a cooperation mechanism established in 2000 for the purposes of lifting the bars of cooperation between the continent on one hand, and China on the other, in a number of areas including infrastructure, trade, and people-to-people exchanges.

The programs cover the areas of industrialization, agricultural modernization, infrastructure, financial services, green development, trade and investment facilitation, poverty reduction and public welfare, public health, people-to-people exchanges, and peace and security.

“China’s pledge to Africa has been disbursed to various programs. This shows our commitment to take development to our African brothers and sisters,” says Wang Dong, an official at the Department of West Asia and African Affairs of the Ministry of Commerce.

Some of the projects that had already been undertaken since the Johannesburg Summit included the completion of the Addis Ababa-Djibouti railway line, completion of the Mombasa-Nairobi railway and some projects were underway in Congo and Tanzania, amongst other countries.

The China-Africa relations will give the Africa Continent an opportunity to achieve sustainable development.

Amidst the global economic challenges that resulted to the Chinese economy slowing down in 2016, the Chinese were much more committed to rolling out all ten programs so as to prepare for further support starting this year.

As it stands, African nations should only work on ensuring improved negotiations on issues of cooperation since there is a lot they could yield from their ties with the Asian rising power- China.

My ten months stay in China have informed me, rightly so, that the Chinese can be greater partners of development, not just in terms of economic growth, but in dealing with other sectors of growth like infrastructure and human resource development. All I can wish is for all efforts to be taken to ensure a surge in our ties of cooperation both at the BILATERAL and MULTILATERAL levels.

Ignore the rhetoric; the Chinese today have a huge and an influential contribution to the continent’s growth trajectory.

Specific Economic and trade cooperation between China and Africa 

“Chinese companies have great confidence and respect for the African market. Lots have been achieved in the past decade and we have incorporated projects covering all African countries,” Wang added and advised that China and Africa should put monies into the right projects so as to avoid wastages. “Feasibility studies should be carried by both the donor country and the implementing country in order to identify the right model and ensure the correct use of the funds,” he said.

Discussing China’s development cooperation with Africa should take into account the models being used. First, there has been the general principle of non-interference when it comes to the internal affairs of states at the bilateral levels of cooperation.

Much is also felt from the framework of mutual relations and benefits, ‘win-win’, partnership, ‘shared growth principle’, investment-oriented trade, special economic zones, and industrialization. These models of friendship and ties at the people-to-people and government-to-government levels have been very instrumental for third world nation.

With these facts, third world nations are bound, given their need for growth, to ensure a surge in their cooperation ties with China, from all fronts more so at the BILATERAL and MULTILATERAL levels.

China-Africa Development Fund

CAD Fund has been making great efforts to promote cooperation with African countries to build economic and trade parks, assist enterprises in attracting investment, encourage Chinese enterprises to invest and build factories in Africa so as to improve the processing and export capacity of African countries, help to balance their trade and boost economic developement.

In recent years, China is entering a new era with the rapid development of direct investment in African countries. Some enterprises are involved in expanding market share, locating closer to the end consumer, or seeking natural resources. With the economic globalization, within the framework of market-based systems, CAD Fund seeks to apply its many advantages including identification of policy, risk control, and value-added services to make an active contribution to cooperation between Chinese and African enterprises and the establishment of the new strategic partnerships between China and Africa.

CAD Fund, according to the fund’s Vice President Wang Yong, has played a significant role in giving opportunities to Chinese companies to invest in 36 African Countries with about 100 projects and has created 74, 000 local jobs. All projects seek to generate $2 billion on export and $10 billion on local taxes.

China-Sierra Leone ‘win-win’ relation

Sierra Leone’s quest for sustained growth should there see it digging out the growth opportunities that China offers! Remember, they deal not just with Africa, but the world.

As a country, all we need is improved negotiations on issues of cooperation and then build on where the former government (which in my view did an impressive work in sustaining the ties of cooperation with Chinese) left!

China has become increasingly present in Sierra Leone. The country is currently financing a new airport, a hospital, a hydroelectric dam, a rubber production project spanning several thousand hectares (worth $1.2 billion, financed by China Hainan Rubber Group) as well as rice cultivation (100,000 hectares). In 2016, FDI targeting mining and transport infrastructure also came from Chinese investors, including the Kingho Group (investment of $6 billion in a mining complex). China is willing to continue investing in Sierra Leone in order to improve stability.

Even at the sub-regional Mano River Union (MRU) level, we could take the lead role in recommencing talks on a once, much anticipated Economic Free Zone along Makona, with the support that should have come from the Chinese. I know there were high-level talks on this, including the presidents of Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone. We should not be oblivious of the fact that, regional and subregional projects stand a greater chance of funding and support more so in line with the multilateral framework to development cooperation.

“The trade between China and Sierra Leone has witnessed a continuous growth since 2002. China is one of the major trading partners of Sierra Leone,” the Chinese Economic Counsellor to Sierra Leone Mr. Shen Xiaokai told a local newspaper. He said that exports to China from Sierra Leone have grown by 44.8% from last year amounting to $239 million.

Over the course of Koroma’s presidency, Sierra Leone has broadened trade relations with China to levels not seen since the 1980s. China has become one of the largest importers of Sierra Leone’s fish and timber.

Bilateral investment is now, more than ever, crucial for President Julius Maada Bio to be able to achieve some of his infrastructural ambitions.

China has been a true friend of Sierra Leone and has assured to continue in that direction. The Government Agenda of Sierra Leon requires a stronger partnership with China to ensure a modern prosperous Sierra Leonean society. 

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Web editor: Hongyu, Bianji)

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