15:50, October 09, 2011
Edited and Translated by People's Daily Online
Home to the most developing countries in the world, Africa's largest challenge is development. The development of Africa needs external investments and active support from the international community. In recent years, international organizations, including the United Nations, the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank, have increased their aid to Africa, and in addition, many major countries of the world have also strengthened their investments and aid to Africa.
Keeping in line with its increasing comprehensive national strength, China is strengthening its aid to Africa. China continues to optimize the structure of the aid and widen the range of the aid to Africa. Although the international financial crisis brought China many new challenges, the Chinese government has vowed many times that China will not reduce its aid to Africa. Meanwhile, China has also forgiven many debts that African countries owned China.
China's investment in Africa started in the 1980s, and in recent years, it grew rapidly and has turned into an important part of the economic and trade cooperation between China and Africa. In January 2006, the Chinese government issued the Document on China's Policies towards Africa, which encourages Chinese enterprises to invest and start businesses in Africa and expresses that China is willing to discuss with African countries the new channels and methods for promoting investment and cooperation. In 2001, China invested 50 million U.S. dollars in Africa. In 2010, the number increased to 1 billion U.S. dollars, and China's total investment in Africa was more than 10 billion U.S. dollars.
However, the rapid development of China-Africa relations is frightening to some people. Some Western media with ulterior motives believe that China is actually challenging Western countries' interests and status in Africa. Therefore, they deliberately distort China's investment and aid to Africa, saying China's aid to Africa has strings attached and that China is invading Africa by the investment, seizing resources and implementing so-called neocolonialism.
This baseless and irresponsible viewpoint is aimed at confusing the public in order to damage China-Africa relations and benefit from it. However, the actual positive effects brought by China's aid and investments in Africa have revealed how ridiculous this kind of viewpoint is.
In terms of the assistance to Africa, China has always adhered to the principles of "never imposing any political condition on its assistance to Africa,""respecting sovereignty and territorial integrity," "not interfering in the internal affairs of African countries" and "preserving common interests based on equality," which have shown China’s ideas of equality in assistance to Africa and have won the trust of African countries.
China's assistance to Africa has focused on helping Africa to improve their independent development capabilities and has prioritized infrastructure construction, meeting the needs of Africa's economic development. Chinese enterprises in Africa have brought local residents with pragmatic interests by operating according to local laws, strengthening resource conservation and environmental protection as well as employing and training a large number of local employees.
China's great deal of selfless assistance to Africa and huge investments there have played a significant role in promoting Africa's economic development and social progress, so that China's investments have universally been welcome by African countries and highly praised by the international community. African Development Bank Chief Economist Mthuli Ncube said during the World Economic Forum annual meeting in Davos in January 2011 that China's investments in Africa are largely positive and Africa welcomes the investments from China.
According to international opinion, China's active investments and participation in a variety of infrastructure projects in Africa have not only provided Africa with the driving force to emerge from the crisis but also posed a positive impact on the recovery of the world economy. A Western scholar said in a book titled "The Dragon's Gift: The Real Story of China in Africa" that China's assistance to Africa is very popular, because China has neither intended to force other countries to accept values, such as democracy and human rights, nor made assistance conditional on recipient countries' participation in the fight against terrorism. The healthy and stable development of the new type of partnership between China and Africa has benefited both sides and the entire world.