by Guo Jun
Stockholm, June 5 (Greenpost)– The year 2015 marks the 15th anniversary of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC), a milestone which has seen China and Africa accelerate their steps in expanding cooperations in various fields for the past 15 years.
Infrastructure projects built by Chinese companies are quickly popping up around the continent. Up to now, China has completed 1, 046 projects in Africa, building 2,233 kilometers of railways and 3,530 kilometers of roads, among others, promoting intra-African trade and helping it integrate into the global economy.
However, as Africa is benefiting from the fruits of trust established with China very long time ago, some in the West have been watching all these with doubtful, or green eyes, hence fantastic theories like “neocolonialism” and “China is exploiting Africa’s resources” are floating up.
Believers of such theories seem to ignore the simple fact that Western powers have been holding their grounds in production of natural resources like oil, gas and minerals in many African countries.
According to a report quoted by the Wikipedia, joint ventures between foreign companies and Nigerian government account for approximately 95 percent of all crude oil output in Nigeria, while local independent companies operating in marginal fields account for the remaining 5 percent. And the top six foreign companies operating in Nigeria are all of western origin, including Shell Nigeria who accounts for 50 percent of Nigerian’s total oil production.
The same story happens in many other African countries: Angola, Zambia, Botswana, etc., a story neglected by some people in the West perhaps because they have taken this for granted for too long to remember.
China has grown into one of the major trading partners with Africa. Winning infrastructure project bids with lower cost, quick delivery and good quality, buying and selling goods for each other’s needs, at both parties’ willingness, aren’t these market economy practices?
“Some say that China is conducting ‘concrete diplomacy’ by helping Africa with infrastructure development. I believe that is what badly needed by Africa in pursuing economic growth,” China’s Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Hua Chunying told a recent press briefing.
Infrastructure projects, investment in manufacture and aids in health sector are China’s main gifts to Africa as the continent strides towards a more integrated and promising one, especially with a continental free trade zone encompassing 26 African countries being close at hand.
Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni told the Financial Times in October 2014 that his main preoccupation was to build efficient infrastructure capable of providing inexpensive services to boost GDP growth to double digit levels.
He said China was a desirable partner in this endeavor not only because of its funding capabilities but also because it desists from interfering in the internal affairs of other countries.
Africa is big enough to consume investment from China and the West. According to the World Bank, an extra 93 billion U.S. dollars is needed every year over the next decade to bridge the infrastructure deficit alone in Africa.
The efficient West-China cooperation on the continent will provide greater opportunities for African countries, particularly in the area of technology transfer, peace and security operations as China is increasing its coordination with United Nations peacekeeping missions.
There should be more confidence and trust from the West in the engagement between China and Africa, and also more trust from the West that China is a reliable partner to cooperate to help Africa loose no time in taking off so as to benefit the whole world. Enditem
Editor Xuefei Chen Axelsson