China's African priorities / News / News agency Inforos
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China's African priorities

In the African countries, millions of Chinese are currently doing business; thousands of Chinese companies are operating

China's African priorities
Context:

The first international tour of the new President, Xi Jinping at the end of March also included the African countries. He visited Tanzania, the Republic of South Africa, the Republic of Congo, and took part in the fifth summit of the BRICS member countries that was held in the South African city of Durban.

The new leader's trip to the continent shows the priorities of foreign policy of the incoming government in Beijing. As is noted by Minister of Foreign Affairs Wang Yi, "the President Xi Jinping's tour on Africa has become the "passing the baton" of China-Africa traditional friendship from one generation to another, opened up the prospect of mutual benefit and gain." According to him, this is "evidence that China cherishes its traditional friendship with Africa and intends to give it new content."

Xi Jinping expressed his vision of Sino-African cooperation speaking at the Parliament of Tanzania. He called Beijing's policy towards the countries of the continent "sincere, pragmatic, close and open". Chinese President told the international community that China and Africa share a common destiny, that they are good friends and partners, they are willing to help and support each other to realize by joint efforts the Chinese and African dream – "rebirth through unity and development". Xi Jinping emphasized that China will support the African countries' efforts in seeking their own development model. And all of this is aimed, according to him, to achieve a "global dream" - ensuring "lasting peace and common prosperity".

He stated his view on Sino-African friendship also during his speech at the parliament of the Republic of Congo, where he stressed that cultural exchange is an important pillar of bilateral ties. Chinese President's visit to Brazzaville has become the first since the establishment of diplomatic relations in 1964, and was, according to the Xinhua News Agency, an expression of "desire to pursue more firmly and resolutely Sino-Congolese cooperation." Xi Jinping during meetings with African leaders has repeatedly stressed that Africa is a continent full of hope, and that China supports these countries' search for paths of development corresponding to their realities.

In turn, the African leaders expressed their hope that China will increase the scope of cooperation with Africa and will deny statements of PRC's "neocolonialism" in Africa. The West argues that trade between China and African countries is beneficial, first of all to China, importing raw materials and exporting manufactured goods. It is even said that Africa risks becoming a "victim of a new form of imperialism". Xi Jinping's trip also pursued the goal of changing this view of China-Africa cooperation. He emphasized repeatedly that China and Africa are equal partners, that Beijing provides assistance without linking it to political objectives.

In the African countries, millions of Chinese are currently doing business; thousands of Chinese companies are operating China's and Africa's bilateral trade turnover has increased from 19.6 billion dollars in 2000 to about 200 billion dollars in 2012. Last year, China's volume of direct investments in Africa reached 20 billion dollars; more than two thousand companies were opened not only in traditional areas of cooperation such as agriculture, mining, construction, but also in engineering, manufacturing, industry, finance, dealing in real estate, tourism. The current Sino-African relations are developing at a rate that, according to Xi Jinping, we can talk about the "golden age" in their histories.

Official Beijing considered Xi Jinping's visit to Africa an important diplomatic step in the strengthening of Sino-African relations. According to the MFA of the PRC, these relations are "the cornerstone of China's foreign policy, and the development of friendly relations with the countries of the continent is one of the fundamental principles of the national policy of the country." During the trip, more than 40 documents on cooperation were signed, including agreements on a number of major projects.

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