Commentary: China pillages Africa's resources? Pure myth!

Source:Xinhua 2019-04-25

 

by Xinhua writer Jiang Li

BEIJING, April 24 (Xinhua) -- People in Chad, an oil-rich African country, used to rely on importing gasolines to power their cars. It has all changed after China's funding and know-how arrived in 2007.

The Ndjamena refinery, a China-Chad joint venture, sits about 40 minutes drive north of the African country's capital Ndjamena. Its one-million-ton output may not be very impressive, yet, the Chadians are now self-sufficient in petroleum products.

The refinery is just one of the many examples of China's mutually beneficial energy cooperation with African countries.

However, it seems that some Western skeptics have chosen to ignore the win-win nature of China-Africa cooperation in natural resources such as oil. In their descriptions, China sees the world's second largest continent as nothing more than a land of abundant resources ripe for pillaging.

Such accusations have cast aside the most basic facts that Beijing has always treated its African partners with respect and equality, and that China's investment flowing into Africa has always sought to bring benefits to both sides.

Historically speaking, China has never been a colonizer. And it never intends to be one.

China's Africa policy differs greatly from that of the Western colonizers who started to divide and rule the continent for dominance and resources since the Age of Discovery.

During the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) summit held in Beijing last September, some African leaders came forward and refuted those irresponsible accusations.

Chairperson of the African Union Commission Moussa Faki Mahamat said the eight initiatives that Chinese President Xi Jinping announced at the forum's opening session are "concrete proof of China's support to Africa."

Rwandan President Paul Kagame rejected misinterpretations of China-Africa ties, saying that "Africa is not a zero-sum game and our growing ties with China do not come at anyone's expense. Indeed the gains are enjoyed by everyone who does business on our continent."

Also, China's investment in Africa is not concentrated on natural resources. As a matter of fact, the service sector has been the main focus for China's investment.

Senior researcher at the U.S. think tank Brookings Institution David Dollar said in a 2015 paper "Why is China investing in Africa? Evidence from the enterprise level" that Chinese companies in Africa "have relatively little investment in natural resources" compared with their peers of developed countries.

A report by the World Bank in 2016 found that China's services investment in Africa accounted for about 60 percent of the country's total investments in the continent.

More importantly, while some Western media spread resource-snatching rumors, China continues its down-to-earth approach in Africa, just like what it has done in Chad's oil industry.

According to a report by the Chinese Ministry of Commerce, after the implementation of the 10 major plans for China-Africa cooperation, projects that Chinese enterprises have built in Africa will result in roughly 30,000 km of highways, 85 million tons per year of port throughput and over 9 million tons per day of clean water treatment, in addition to creating nearly 900,000 jobs for Africans.

Furthermore, China has been Africa's largest trading partner for nine consecutive years. In 2017, China-Africa trade volume reached 170 billion U.S. dollars, a year-on-year increase of 14 percent, accounting for about 25 percent of Africa's global trade.

African people believe that China's contributions to their economic and social development are enormous, according to Afrobarometer, a pan-African research organization. They also ranked China as providing the best model for development.

Several decades after African countries like Chad gained their independence from Western colonialists, they still need fuel for development, and China is there trying to help. For anyone who also wants to be helpful, he needs to offer solutions, not groundless allegations.

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