Solidifying Africa's ties with China

Cyril Ramaphosa

The high-level summit, which brings together Heads of State and Government from across Africa and their counterparts in China, promotes bilateral dialogue and cooperation between China and Africa.

The invitation for a State Visit extended by President Xi Jinping is a reciprocal gesture after President Ramaphosa hosted President Xi on a State Visit on 24 July 2018, ahead of the BRICS Summit in Johannesburg. African countries are part of over 60 countries worldwide benefiting from Beijing's 1.2 trillion-dollar initiative.

This year's edition is themed "China and Africa: Toward an Even Stronger Community with a Shared Future through Win-Win Cooperation".

China's economic data shows trade between Beijing and the continent's countries rose 14 percent past year to $170bn.

This is third-time China is hosting its Africa summit.

While there are risks that other countries would need to seek funding from the World Bank or the International Monetary Fund if unable to pay back Chinese or other credit, many governments would balk at the strict conditions attached to those loans, observers say.

"For instance we have the indigenisation [law], which was constraining the flow of capital in the economy, we have already attended to that, the issue of the cost of doing business... and the competitiveness of our country in attracting investment, ....we have done a lot in removing the archaic legislation that was constraining economic growth in our country", he said, adding that he is satisfied that by each day, Zimbabwe is improving its competitiveness regionally and internationally in terms of attracting investment into the country.

China and Africa represent different stages on the same development path, with Africa remaining in a primary stage of development with huge potential yet to be unleashed. Projects completed under the initiative include the Mombasa-Nairobi Railway (June 2017), the Djibouti-Addis Ababa (Ethiopia) Railway (January 2018) and the 186.5 kilometers Abuja-Kaduna (Nigeria) rail line (July 2018). China has largely managed to alleviate poverty in its country, and has emerged increasingly stronger with the adoption of groundbreaking measures since the launch of its reform and opening-up policy, with a rich history of experience to share with African countries.

The summit is also expected to strengthen the cooperation between China and Africa to a high level with the adoption of the Beijing Declaration and the Beijing Action Plan. At the summit's conclusion, South Africa will hand over the co-chairship of Focac to a new African country, having served six years (2012 to 2018) in this role.

He called on the United Nations to take Africa as a priority in its work and support African countries in solving their problems in African ways so as to achieve long-term peace and stability on the continent.

In May, Kenya rejected the China-EAC economic trade agreement, arguing that it was protecting its manufacturing sector from China's cheaper and more efficient producers.

Last week, China's Vice Commerce Minister Qian Keming said Africa's debt burden was long-standing and had been made worse by the global financial crisis and a slump in commodity prices.

China's development, a trend that can not be halted, is of great significance to the cause of world peace and development, he said.

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