Johannesburg-A Chinese diplomat has reiterated Sino-Africa cooperation will be upgraded so that this historic friendship accelerates Africa’s industrialisation and agricultural modernisation with funding of US$60 billion from China.
Chinese ambassador to South Africa Lin Songtian shared this sentiment when he recently addressed the China-Africa Media Forum (CAMF) in Johannesburg, South Africa attended by senior editors from China and African countries, namely, Angola, Kenya, Tanzania, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Ghana and Ruanda.
Guo Weiming the vice minister of the Chinese State Council Information Office was the special guest at the forum where delegates underscored the need for more cooperation and collaboration between African and Chinese media.
In 2015 during the FOCAC Johannesburg Summit, Lin noted, Chinese President Xi Jinping and his African counterparts undertook to “upgrade China-Africa relations to comprehensive strategic and cooperative partnership, ushering our ties into a new era of win-win cooperation for common development.”
To this end, he stated, China remains committed to this far-reaching developmental undertaking and since that summit it has implemented more than 600 projects in Africa amounting to over US$106 billion.
Through these projects 209,000 jobs have been created on the continent with African countries receiving receipts of US$1.1 billion in tax revenue. Notable among the signature Chinese projects on the African continent are the Addis Ababa-Djibouti Railway Line, the Nairobi-Mombasa Railway Line in Kenya and the Abuja-Kaduna Rail Project in Nigeria, stated the Chinese ambassador.
He also alluded to Chinese investors assisting Ethiopia, Zambia, Uganda, and the Republic of Congo, and Egypt, to set up and construct special economic zones and industrial parks that have created a large number of jobs for locals.
Despite the global economic headwinds, he said, “China has become Africa’s largest trading partner, main investor and engineering contractor.” For instance in the first half of 2017 China-Africa trade volumes soared to US$85.3 billion.
“China wants to support Africa in its efforts to addressing three major bottlenecks impeding development, namely, lack of quality infrastructure, professional and skilled personnel and financial resources,” he said.
Ambassador Lin stressed, “China wants to support Africa to develop independent and sustainable systems of industrialization, food security as well as public health and disease prevention and control. Most importantly China aims to help Africa resolve long-standing problems of jobs, food and health.”
Kevin Richie the regional executive editor of Independent Media in Gauteng said South Africa has a high unemployment rate with many people who are not just unemployed but unemployable of whom half are youths.
“We need to change that, we need to develop infrastructure, attract foreign direct investment and boost our gross domestic product,” he said.
With traditional global centres of power, more specifically the USA and Britain veering towards isolationism and insularity, this has major economic knock-on effects for the entire African continent which can be mitigated by cooperating economically and socially with Bricks member countries such as China.