In his brilliant forward to a book, written by two American Scholars (China and Africa: A Century of Engagement by David H. Shinn and Joshua Eisenman), Professor George T.Yu wrote that “ whether China is a super power or a rising power with worldwide influence, there can be no disputing that China’s interests are wide- ranging, quickly expanding and on a global scale.
In an era of globalization, China has established enduring relationships on all continents and with numerous partners, both major and minor.However with the exception of Asia, no other Continent can rival the extent, the intensity, the speed and the impact of China’s relations in Africa.”
China and Africa cooperation since the founding of the Forum on China- Africa co-operation (FOCAC) 2000 has grown phenomenally and the heads of state and government summit of the forum held in Johannesburg, South Africa, last December greatly upgraded the Sino-Africa Co-operation.
At the summit, president Xi Jinping proposed the upgrading of the earlier “new type of China- Africa strategic partnership” to “a comprehensive strategic and co-operative partnership”, and outlined ten co-operative plans that covered the areas of industrialization, agricultural modernization, infrastructure, financial services, green development, trade and investment facilitation, poverty reduction and public welfare, public health, people to people exchanges and peace and security. Additionally, the Chinese leader provided 60 billion U.S dollars funding support to actualize the ten point cooperation plans. In the joint declaration, the two sides, China and Africa affirmed their belief that “China and Africa’s development strategies are complimentary and characterized by mutual benefit, equality, openness, inclusiveness, accountability and that they demonstrate the possibilities and opportunities of solidarity, mutual support and respect among developing countries.”
As a foremost global trader to which over hundred countries engage in optimum and beneficial trade, China has since the turn of the 21stcentury, become Africa’s largest trading partner.
China is obviously aware of the largely dysfunctional State structure of African countries, a legacy of brutal colonial domination, which distorted and disaggregated most of the African countries national economies. However, Beijing probably understood that such a monumental historical malady as the brutal colonial and imperialist dis-articulation of African countries national economies, cannot be remedied by extant anti-imperialist phraseology and mere revolutionary rhetoric. Through extensive and broad co-operation especially in plunging the gaping holes of massive infrastructure deficit in the continent, China is helping and supporting the building and improving the general capacity of African States and enabling an inclusive social order, necessary to generate consensus, stability and sustainable development. China is actively filling the gaps of social and economic deficit that has previously made national independence in Africa, mere ritual of flag-raising.
Even as most of Africa, especially the central and west Africa are beyond the original route of the Silk Road, the “One Belt, One Road” is now known to be comprehensive, inclusive and wide-ranging. Africa’s heartland in the Western, and Central regions of the continent is most open to the connectivity of facilities that is at the heart of the Belt and Road Initiative. Building of industrial clusters along the Belt and Road Initiative would generate economic activities that are unprecedented. Africa’s industrialization, a concern that China has expressed deep commitment would find a powerful catalyst in the Belt and Road project.
In the history of Africa global co-operation only China has perhaps viewed and treated the continent as not merely a theater zone of humanitarian disaster, but an important and equal partner that can stand on its own feet to make contribution to humanity.