|Africa Welcomes China's investment|
Source: People’s Daily 7th October 2011
The biggest problem facing Africa, home to the largest number of developing countries in the world, is development, which requires external investment and active assistance from the international community. In recent years, apart from the United Nations, International Monetary Fund, World Bank and other institutions, major developed countries have also boosted investment and aid to Africa.
Along With the advancement of China’s comprehensive national power, its aid to Africa has been expanding in scale, optimizing in structure, and diversifying in range. Although the international financial crisis poses new challenges to China as well, the Chinese government has expressed on numerous occasions that China will not reduce aid to Africa but has cancelled African countries’ debs repeatedly.
China started to invest in Africa from 1980s. Its investment to Africa is seeing rapid growth in recent years, which has become an important part of China-Africa economic and trade cooperation. In January 2006, the Chinese government issued China’s Policy to Africa, encouraging and supporting Chinese enterprises to invest and build businesses in Africa, while expressing the intention to work with African countries to find new ways and approaches to promote investment cooperation. China’s investment in Africa has shot up from $50 million in 2001 to about $1billion in 2010, with an aggregate investment of more than $10 billion.
However, the rapid development of China-Africa relations makes some people nervous and uneasy. Some western media with ulterior motives speculate that China is posing a challenge to the western powers’ interest and status. They criticize China’s aid to African countries, without political strings, as “inciting tyrannical rule”, “investment invasion”, “resources plunder” and pushing “neo-colonialism”. The groundless and irresponsible accusations are aimed at misleading the public, sabotaging China-Africa relations and “fishing in the troubled water”. Nonetheless the positive impact of China’s aid and investment in Africa make such denunciations collapse on their own.
When providing assistance to Africa, China always adheres to the principles of “attaching no political strings”, “mutual respect of sovereignty and territory integrity”, “no interference in internal affairs”, “treating each other equally and safeguarding common interests”. All these principles reflect the equalitarian ideology in China’s aid to Africa, which has thus won African countries’ faith. China does not only provide aid to African countries but also pays attention to helping them improve their capability of self-reliant development. Meanwhile, in making investment, China attaches great importance to infrastructure construction to meet the needs of economic development of African countries. Chinese enterprises have brought about a great deal of practical benefits to African peoples when they engage in Africa by observing the local laws, saving resources, protecting the environment, employing and training local employees. China’s selfless aid to and large investment in Africa plays an important role in advancing the economic development and social progress of African countries, which is highly welcomed by African countries and highly appreciated by the international community. At the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting in Davos January 2011, Ncube, chief economist of African Development Bank, commented that China’s investment to Africa is positive to a large extent, and welcomed by African countries.
Some international media point out that China is making investment in Africa and participating in infrastructure construction actively, which will not only boost African countries’ drive of getting out of the current crisis but also create positive impact on the recovery of world economy. A western scholar observes in his book - The Dragon's Gift：The True Story of China in Africa that China’s aid to Africa is highly popular because China doesn’t impose values like “democracy” or “human rights” on African countries, nor does it demand the recipients to take part in the “anti-terrorism” war in return for the aid. The new type China-Africa strategic partnership will develop in a healthy and steady way, to the benefits of China, Africa and the world, as well.
(The author is a professor in Deng Xiaoping Theory Research Base of Hunan.)