AFRICANGLOBE – How will Africa’s interest be bargained under China’s new leadership? This is the question that has generated interests among African pundits ahead of the 2013 inauguration of China’s president-elect, Xi Jinping. But for all the eagerness, the pro-markets, pro-reform tendencies of Jinping can only build on an already thriving Sino-African relation.
Under outgoing President Hu Jintao, the Summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) was formed, and friendly and cooperative ties between China and African governments and businesses were forged.
Loans were offered regardless of human rights record or international sanctions. Sino-arms were supplied to dissident groups and International Criminal Court (ICC) suspect African leaders, particularly Omar Hassan Al-Bashir of Sudan. Infrastructure was built. Cheap Chinese goods flew in, threatening locally made goods. Chinese businesses migrated into African market places. African lands were bought. Xenophobia and amity were expressed.
Jinping has long been known for his market-friendly approach to economic development, and has also displayed strong support for ‘big companies,’ especially China’s flagship state-owned enterprises.
Despite his free-market tendencies, his ideological orientation remains unclear. But as far as China’s dealing with Africa is concerned, the policy of non-interference and business-only approach remains the same.
However, Jinping may expand the Sino-Africa ties further because China’s African policy, helpful or destructive, is imperative to China.
As Vice President, Jinping called for stronger and more prosperous Africa-China ties. In November 2010, this included a pledge between China and South Africa to enhance military ties.
Under, Jintao, Jinping administered 50 large-scale and state-owned companies and over 400 private companies from China operating in Angola’s reconstruction process, including the construction or rehabilitation of housing projects, harbours, railways, highways, energy, telecommunications, power and water supplies and other basic infrastructures.
On 29 November, more than 400 diplomatic envoys, entrepreneurs and officials from China and African nations, focusing on the theme of “Deepen Cooperation for a Better Future” promised to promote more cooperation in various fields and deepen mutual trust.
The perceived sincerity, equality and mutual benefit, solidarity and common development that has guided China-Africa exchange and cooperation, will not change under Jinping because Africa has been, and continues to be, China’s strategic medium to a so-called peaceful rise.
Therefore, the policy of high-level visits, exchanges between legislative bodies, cooperation in international affairs, medical and health cooperation, science and technology cooperation, economic assistance, multilateral cooperation and so on will continue.
China has reduced and exempted Africa’s debts totaling more than $10bn. Jinping might do more in debt relief for Africa to perpetually construct the friendly and generous ally from the East in contrast to the West, which has dealt in ways that are suspect to many a historian, analyst or critic.
By; Konye Obaji Ori