Published: Tue, September 04, 2018
Money | By Wilma Wheeler

Handful African presidents not attending 2018 FOCAC summit in China

Handful African presidents not attending 2018 FOCAC summit in China

The real victor in these partnerships is China which has invited leaders of the entire continent to attend the two-day Forum for Africa-China Cooperation, FOCAC, in Beijing on September 3-4, 2018.

He said that the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation should "work to balance the structure of trade between Africa and China" and "we are pleased that China is open to this [proposal] and in fact encourages balanced trade so that we have a win-win outcome that benefits both the Chinese and the African people".

He said that those plans have brought benefits to the people of China and Africa and have elevated the cooperation to greater heights.

Xi said China would increase cooperation with the continent, including expanding imports of products beyond resources.

He said the initiatives, cover fields such as industrial promotion, infrastructure connectivity, trade facilitation, and green development.

A study by the Center for Global Development, a USA think-tank, found "serious concerns" about the sustainability of sovereign debt in eight Asian, European and African countries receiving Belt and Road funds.

China has established 54 Confucius Institutes and 27 Confucius classrooms in 41 African countries.

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa said the meeting in Beijing "refutes the view that a new colonialism is taking hold in Africa, as our detractors would have us believe".

With all these developments, Africa Beyond Aid crusader Paul Kagame, President of Rwanda, maintains that "Africa is not a zero sum game".

But Rwandan President Paul Kagame, who now chairs the African Union, said that rather than viewing the investment as a "debt trap", other countries should be asking why they're not giving Africa as much assistance as China.

China will this week host a forum where development projects for the next three years will be discussed.

Xi did not say which countries China would extend debt relief to, but he noted they would be Africa's least developed, heavily indebted and poor as well as small island developing countries that have diplomatic relations with China.

China loaned around £97 billion ($125 billion) to the continent from 2000 to 2016, data from the China-Africa Research Initiative at Washington's Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies shows.

In May, Kenya rejected the China-EAC economic trade agreement, arguing that it was protecting its manufacturing sector from China's cheaper and more efficient producers.

For two days in a row, every headline on the front page of the state-run People's Daily started with the words "Xi Jinping..." as the president met with the leaders of countries from Angola and Gabon to Mauritius and Senegal.

At the last three-yearly gathering in Johannesburg in 2015, Xi announced $60 billion of assistance and loans for Africa.

"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.

This year's edition is themed "China and Africa: Toward an Even Stronger Community with a Shared Future through Win-Win Cooperation". He said Xi has expressed his commitment to addressing the issue.

The interest in the forum is a result of China's growing influence on the African continent and proves the FOCAC has been pragmatic and efficient, analysts said.

He said that limits the ability of African countries to get the full value out of their natural resources and create work for their people.

China has provided aid to Africa since the Cold War, but Beijing's presence in the region has grown exponentially with its emergence as a global trading power. Locals in other countries have complained about the practice of using Chinese labour for building projects and what are perceived as sweetheart deals for Chinese companies.

Like this: