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浙江师范大学非洲研究院

China-Africa policy changing outcome

20171215日,非洲研究院尼日利亚籍研究员Ehizuelen Michael Mitchell Omoruyi在中国日报网发表文章:China-Africa policy changing outcome.

 

Numerous projects diversify aid models on continent and promote exchanges and cooperation, winning praise from local people

China's foreign policy rests on expanding relations with developing nations, including those in Africa with which it aims to further lift its integral cooperation. China frequently points out that it is the world's largest developing nation and Africa is the location of the world's largest number of developing nations, and China sees its future as intertwined with the world's developing nations.

That is why bolstering solidarity and cooperation with African nations has always been the cornerstone of China's foreign policy. It is willing to join hands with African nations in translating friendship into cooperation and development momentum, in order to achieve win-win outcomes and common prosperity and development. Over the past two decades China has significantly stepped up its efforts in Africa, and this has continued under President Xi Jinping's leadership.

China-Africa policy changing outcome

China's policy toward Africa has shown several new trends that illustrate China's evolving priorities and strategies on the continent. These have had significant implications for the future of Africa and Sino-African relations.

Most strikingly, China under Xi has greatly and assertively enhanced its direct involvement in Africa's security affairs. Two months into Xi's leadership, China unprecedentedly sent 170 combat troops from the People's Liberation Army to the United Nations peacekeeping mission in Mali. Compared with China's past tradition of sending only noncombat staff such as engineers and medical personnel, this was the first time China sent combat troops to a foreign country under a United Nations mandate. China's choosing Africa to dispatch combat troops for the first time suggests its enhanced commitment to and rising interest and direct role in maintaining peace and security in Africa.

China's role in Africa is now becoming that of a long-term strategic partner. Djibouti is a prime example. China has not been known for establishing military bases in Africa or even beyond its immediate sphere of influence. This has been changing in recent years following China's decision to build a logistics base in Djibouti on the Horn of Africa. China will be able to use the base to improve the way it manages its peacekeeping operations and humanitarian efforts in Africa, as well as its regional maritime operations.

China-Africa policy changing outcome

China also committed itself to the United Nations' new peacekeeping capability readiness system and allocated $1 billion (849 million euros; 749 million) over 10 years to the United Nations' peace deployment fund. In addition, China also pledged $100 million for the African Union's standby peacekeeping force.

China has continued its naval escort missions in the Gulf of Aden and enhanced security cooperation with Djibouti throughout the process. China has sent 16 fleets and escorted more than 5,300 ships and vessels in the area. Chinese missions have been carried out under a clear United Nations mandate. However, through these missions, China has been developing naval cooperation with Djibouti on such matters as local logistical supplies and emergency assistance. Djibouti has provided more stable and long-term security cooperation with China in this regard.

In 2013, China's special envoy for African affairs, Ambassador Zhong Jianhua, made more than 10 visits to Africa to coordinate positions and mediate the South Sudan issue. Also, in Ethiopia, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi traveled to Addis Ababa to meet with rebel and government delegations. He openly urged immediate cessation of hostilities and violence and publicly called for international powers to back the Ethiopian-led mediation efforts.

China's involvement is also reflected in its rising financial and military contributions to the African Union to bolster its security role in Africa. In 2013, China provided $1 million in assistance to the AU to support its mediation and coordination efforts in the Mali conflict.

China has become conscious that insecurity and instability in Africa can influence its economic interests. For that reason, China has also offered $60 million in free assistance to the AU to build and maintain its arms - both its regular army crisis response and United Nations peacekeeping in Africa. This is another move that will increase China-Africa security cooperation.

China's rising involvement in Africa's security affairs is motivated by multiple considerations. Most important, the instability and conflicts in Africa have increasingly become a direct challenge to China's economic presence in Africa. Equally crucial is China's desire to build leadership role and image in the international community, and peace and security issues in Africa are a perfect platform for such a goal.

Africa and China are pursuing win-win common development by aligning their development strategies and translating their economic complementarity into a driving force for their common growth. China is ready to share its development experience with Africa and carry out projects to improve transnational and transregional interconnectivity in Africa, in order to make a greater contribution to the African integration process.

China is also specifically seeking to upgrade counterterrorism cooperation with Africa, given Africa's struggle with militants including Boko Haram in Nigeria, al-Shabab in Somalia and al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb in northwestern Africa. China's goal is to build up African capabilities so that African nations - as well as organizations like the African Union - can ensure their own stability. China believes that through working directly and closely with regional organizations and African governments, it can diversify and strengthen its friendship base in Africa.

China has expanded its financing to Africa. In a little more than a year, China has issued more than $10 billion in loans to African countries, half of the promised $20 billion to be dispersed from 2013 to 2015. One striking feature of these loans lies in China's new priority in financing infrastructure and the agricultural and manufacturing industries in Africa, a strategy that shifts away from its traditional heavy investment in Africa's extractive industries. Senior Chinese officials now say the country's investment in Africa's energy sector makes up only 20 percent of its total investment in the continent. African governments are particularly eager for financing in infrastructure, which can promote trade as well as attract investment.

China wants to expand integral cooperation with Africa through the 10 programs based on a $60 billion financing plan agreed upon at the 2015 Forum on China-Africa Cooperation Summit in South Africa. China and African countries signed a total of 245 cooperation agreements worth $50 billion. The launch of the Addis Ababa-Djibouti railroad, the advance of the railway linking Mombasa and Nairobi, Kenya, and the development of industrial parks and special economic zones were among the early achievements in 2016 of the agreements put into effect following the 2015 summit. The new railway connecting Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, and Djibouti will cut the journey time to about eight hours; this is a game-changer for the two countries.

China's initiative to build and improve infrastructure such as roads, railways and telecommunications systems has been a boon for Africa's manufacturing sector. The projects have also freed up domestic resources for other critical needs such as healthcare and education, and have aided everyone doing business in Africa.

China is strengthening its cooperation with African countries by building their manufacturing industries. In the case of Ethiopia, the country has tried to become the center for manufacturing in Africa, based on Chinese investment. This would serve to upgrade China's own position in the global supply chain and transfer its declining industries to Africa, which is eager for industrialization.

The unanimous decision at the 2015 summit, where President Xi promised more cooperation between China and Africa in education and training, confirms China and Africa's awareness of the importance of knowledge sharing in boosting development. In the past, China has given a lot of concessional loans to African nations, but now it wants African people to have the capacity to create wealth for themselves. That is why training that comes in the form of knowledge-sharing is now at the heart of China-Africa cooperation.

In a separate strategy to improve China's image in Africa, the Xi administration has significantly enhanced China's public diplomacy efforts on the ground. Senior Chinese diplomats are now engaging African media to explain China's positions. Under the China-Africa People to People Friendship Action plan, Chinese embassies across Africa are seeking collaboration with African nongovernmental organizations and have implemented dozens of projects.

Some examples include technical training programs in Botswana; material assistance in central Africa with the Central African Republic Renaissance Foundation; donations to local elementary schools in Uganda; vocational training for local unemployed youth in Cape Verde; and women's health programs in Benin.

Although these projects are primarily led and implemented by governments, they serve to diversify China's aid models in Africa and promote exchanges and cooperation with civil society. They have won some loud praise from the local populations. In recent years, China, under Xi's leadership, has demonstrated major new and diversified policy momentum on the continent. African nations await more.

全文请见: http://africa.chinadaily.com.cn/weekly/2017-12/15/content_35308112.htm?bsh_bid=1898297621  

 

作者:Michael

发表时间:2017-12-15

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