China shares stance on increasing interest of Western countries in Africa

By Théophile Niyitegeka
On 7 March 2024 at 09:17

China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi has shed light on China’s prospects for consolidated cooperation with African nations and its perspective on the increasing interest of Western countries in the African continent.

Minister Yi was speaking at a press conference for the Second Session of the 14th National People’s Congress in Beijing where he elucidated China’s foreign policy.

In recent years, Chinese officials including the Foreign Minister visited African countries.

Meanwhile, officials from the United States (U.S.) and other Western countries have been also paying visits to Africa in recent years.

The visits were held amidst Western narratives that depict China’s financial aid for significant development projects as a "debt trap."

Officials indicate that China’s financial cooperation with Africa has primarily focused on infrastructure and capacity building, aiming to bolster Africa’s capacity for self-reliant and sustainable growth.

Throughout the years, China-Africa collaboration has addressed the critical development needs of African nations.

Propelled by the Belt and Road Initiative, the China-Africa partnership in infrastructure has produced significant outcomes.

Last year’s data revealed that since the inception of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation 23 years ago, Chinese enterprises have constructed or renovated over 10,000 kilometers of railways, nearly 100,000 kilometers of roads, around 1,000 bridges, 100 ports, as well as several hospitals and schools across Africa. This effort has generated more than 4.5 million jobs.

Nevertheless, Western narratives often portray the Chinese aid in Africa as a "debt trap."

China counters these accusations as unfounded and reaffirms its dedication to honoring African sovereignty.

Commenting on China’s stance on the trips and concern about the competition from the Western relation with Africa, Minister Yi said: "In the history of international exchanges, it is so because China and Africa rather treat each other with sincerity, ensuring the common future."

He draw emphasis on a longstanding relationship rooted in mutual support and shared struggles against imperialism and colonialism, highlighting the historical context of solidarity that forms the bedrock of China-Africa relations.

According to Yi, China has committed to principles of "sincerity, fair results, amity, and good faith," under the leadership of President Xi Jinping, propelling the China-Africa partnership onto a trajectory of accelerated growth and deeper connection.

"China has remained Africa’s biggest trading partner for 15 years straight, and the pie of China-Africa cooperation is growing bigger," he noted.

Yi further stated that this economic partnership, coupled with a shared vision for development, demonstrates the tangible benefits of this relationship ’not only for China and Africa but also for the global south, which is increasingly influencing the global narrative’.

However, the growing interest of Western nations in Africa has introduced new dynamics into the equation.

"While China-Africa cooperation thrives, other major countries have again turned their eyes. China welcomes that. We hope that like China, all sides will pay greater attention to Africa, increase support for Africa’s development, and support the development of real nations," Yi stated as he reflected on China’s openness to multilateral cooperation and a desire for a genuine commitment to Africa’s development, beyond the realm of competition.

Looking ahead, Minister Yi announced the next meeting of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation, scheduled to be held in China this winter.

This summit promises to be a landmark event, bringing Chinese and African leaders together to discuss future cooperation and governance.

Yi expressed optimism about the outcomes of this summit, believing it will "enhance their longstanding friendship," and "open up new vistas for faster climate development and start a new chapter for China-Africa community and share the future."

China's Foreign Minister, Wang Yi (n the middle) has shed light on China's prospects for consolidated cooperation with African nations.
Members of the press attending the press conference in Beijing on Thursday March 7, 2024.

Théophile Niyitegeka / Beijing, China