July 22nd, 2012 | Global Times New strategy to be devised for ties with Africa
During the Fifth Ministerial Conference of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation in Beijing last week, China announced a $20 billion credit line to African countries over the next three years.
African countries are undergoing a period of rapid economic growth despite the downturn of the global economy. Although this development started from a low point, it offers hope for the continent’s future. The loans China promised to Africa will definitely help strengthen bilateral cooperation and consolidate their mutual importance to each other.
China and African nations are no longer merely political partners. They have established a relationship of comprehensive cooperation that contributes to the development of both sides.
What Africa offers China is more than energy and raw resources. Africa as an emerging market is also important to China. Cooperation with Africa can bring immediate benefits to China, but we must also look to the future.
China is now Africa’s largest trading partner. China and Africa have a good political foundation for their cooperation, so it is natural for them to gradually expand this across all sectors.
Although the West also wants to woo Africa, they find differences in values hard to bridge. Thus, the development of their relationship has been bumpy.
Frictions between China and Africa are also increasing. But such frictions are generally private disputes related to specific interests of companies and individuals. They are unlikely to become major obstacles blocking development between China and Africa.
We often see some disrespect toward Africa among international opinions. This can be found in China as well. However, African nations are embracing a good opportunity for development right now.
China is catching up with the West in terms of its involvement into Africa’s development. Western nations might be uneasy about such a situation, because the China-Africa relationship is now an important resource for China’s rise and can be seen as leverage for relations with the West.
Among China’s public opinion, there are some voices doubting the worth of China providing these loans to Africa. China’s policy on Africa should not be influenced by such views.
China must view Africa strategically. China-Africa cooperation should not be based upon economic aid and aimed solely at short-term interests. It should be sustainable and help both sides.
Africa is home to a third of the world’s developing countries. Developing a good and solid relationship with African nations can inject new meanings and depth into China’s global influence.
The article is an editorial published in the Chinese edition of the Global Times Friday.
By Global Times