Monday, 1 July 2013
China /Afrika trade relations
China’s new president told Africans on Monday he wanted a relationship of equals that would help the continent develop, responding to concerns that Beijing is only interested in shipping out its raw materials. On the first stop on an African tour that will include a BRICS summit of major emerging economies, Xi Jinping told Tanzanian President Jakaya Kikwete that China’s involvement in Africa would help the continent grow richer. “China sincerely hopes to see faster development in African countries and a better life for African people,” Xi said in a speech laying out China’s policy on Africa, delivered at a conference centre in Dar es Salaam built with Chinese money. Renewing an offer of $20 billion of loans to Africa between 2013 and 2015, Xi pledged to “help African countries turn resource endowment into development strength and achieve independent and sustainable development”. Africans broadly see China as a healthy counterbalance to Western influence but, as ties mature, there are growing calls from policymakers and economists for a more balanced trade deal. “China will continue to offer, as always, necessary assistance to Africa with no political strings attached,” Xi said to applause. “We get on well and treat each others as equals.” But gratitude for that aid is increasingly tinged with resentment about the way Chinese companies operate in Africa where industrial complexes staffed exclusively by Chinese workers have occasionally provoked riots by locals looking for work. Countering concerns that Africa is not benefitting from developing skills or technology from Chinese investment, Xi said China would train 30,000 African professionals, offer 18,000 scholarships to African students and “increase technology transfer and experience”. “ALL-WEATHER FRIENDS” “The Sino-Tanzania relationship has endured a lot,” said Tanzania’s Kikwete, whose nation built close ties with China in the early years after independence from the British in 1964. “Now we have become all-weather friends.” China built a railway linking Tanzania and Zambia in the 1960s and early early 1970s.