Handful African presidents not attending 2018 FOCAC summit in China

04 September, 2018, 00:33 | Author: Darnell Patrick
  • Uhuru in China for trade talks days after hosting UK PM Theresa May

Djibouti has become heavily dependent on Chinese financing after China opened its first overseas military base in the Horn of Africa country past year, a powerful signal of the continent's strategic importance to Beijing.

President Muhammadu Buhari on Saturday, September 1, arrived in Beijing, China, for the 7th summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC 2018).

President Yoweri Museveni was among several African heads of state who attended the opening ceremony of the summit.

"China's investment in Africa comes with no political strings attached", Xi told a high-level dialogue with African leaders and business representatives hours before the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC).

Apart from military aid to the African Union, Beijing will support countries in the Sahel region and others bordering the piracy-ridden Gulf of Aden and Gulf of Guinea.

"China has implemented plans adopted in the 2015 summit in Johannesburg railways, airports, peace, security, culture and science".

But critics say that, with many of its infrastructure projects, China is luring needy countries into "debt traps".

No details were given on specific projects, although Xi said China was planning initiatives in eight areas, including providing $147 million in emergency food aid, sending 500 agricultural experts to Africa, and providing scholarships, vocational training and trade promotion opportunities.

China would be happy to help Africa upgrade its customs and commodities inspection facilities and provide supplies and equipment to improve trade connectivity with the continent, the Chinese leader added.

He echoed Ramaphosa's call for "win-win cooperation" and said China rejected protections and unilateralism.

"Anyone who isolates himself like an Island has no future", he said.


But he added that China and Africa should work towards a more balanced trade relationship.

Xi added that his country will support Africa in achieving food security by 2030 through agricultural modernisation as well as provide food relief to countries faced with starvation.

African Union Commissioner for Trade and Industry Albert Muchanga will take stock of the infrastructure development, industrialisation and peace and development programmes, and agree on the priorities for the coming years.

Xi said that future of cooperation should focus on young people and the initiatives that China would drive were created to help young people in Africa.

In May, African central banks, under the Macroeconomic and Financial Management Institute of Eastern and Southern Africa, (MEFMI) a regional establishment with members including EAC countries supported the introduction of the yuan as a reserve currency.

"Africa is still at the initial stage of industrialization, and the process is very likely to collapse without sustainable investment growth", the state-linked Global Times reported Monday.

"I trust that the relationship between China and Africa will be passed on from generation to generation". South African President Cyril Ramaphosa said that FOCAC "refutes the view that a new colonialism is taking hold in Africa as our detractors would have us believe", alluding to a comment by Malayasian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamed last month that China was trying to promote "a new version of colonialism".

"It is a vision of an integrated prosperous and peaceful Africa, we welcome the announcement by FOCAC initiatives that will have positive and everlasting impact to the people of Africa", he observed.

The cooperation between China and Africa was "a forward looking partnership" not concerned only with the current - but also the future - challenges, he said. He saluted Xi for his personal engagement in these efforts.

The secretary general of the United Nations, Antonio Gutterres, praised China for pursuing the path that will immensely contribute to the well-being of mankind in the world.

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