World Economy

China, Africa Want to Prosper Together

China, Africa Want to Prosper TogetherChina, Africa Want to Prosper Together

South African President Jacob Zuma says closer ties between Africa and China will be a “win-win” cooperation. In his closing remarks at a major summit between China and Africa in Johannesburg, he said both sides wanted to “prosper together”.

On Friday, Chinese President Xi Jinping announced $60 billion of assistance and loans for African states. He said the momentum of rapid growth in Africa was “unstoppable”, BBC reported.

He also proposed that China-Africa ties be upgraded to “a comprehensive strategic cooperative partnership”.

Speaking on Saturday, Xi said China firmly supported Africa’s pursuit of independent sustainable development. He said African countries should be allowed to address regional affairs in an independent way.

The announced $60 billion in Chinese assistance is indeed unprecedented. A heady cocktail of debt relief, aid and preferential loans offered by the Chinese president has nailed China’s commitment to African development.

But make no mistake. This is about business. China is taking a gamble on future African growth by unlocking the “bottlenecks” to development, as President Xi described them.

These include a lack of infrastructure, skilled personnel and access to funds. “But what I sense African nations need more than anything else from conversations with African businessmen and potential foreign investors, is job creation for–as one minister put it– ‘a young population living in an aging world’.”.

That requires investment in education and structural reforms.

Africa provides not only a huge market place for Chinese goods and services but it also offers strategic opportunities.

As China expands its international ambitions as a UN peacekeeper and a wealthy “patron” helping to bankroll African growth and “African Solutions to African Problems” what will China expect in return?

Loyalty–not least when it seeks to protect its interests when it uses its vote on the UN Security Council, and the continued “fraternity” that President Jacob Zuma referred so warmly in his closing speech.

Xi also said China was ready to play “a constructive role in promoting political settlement of Africa’s hot-spot issues”, but did not elaborate.

The Chinese president also reaffirmed the importance of the five major pillars he highlighted a day earlier that China and African countries should focus on.

The five pillars include consolidating political mutual trust, striving for win-win economic cooperation, enhancing exchanges and learning from each other’s cultures, helping each other in security, and cementing unity and coordination on international affairs.

Closing the two-day summit, Zuma thanked Xi for taking China’s relationship with Africa “to its highest level ever”.

He said cooperation with China was based on “sincerity, mutual trust, equality, win-win cooperation and mutual benefit”.

“Africa and China are together a fraternal community with a shared and prosperous future,” he said. “China and Africa want to prosper together.”

China’s announcement of grants, loans and development funds was widely anticipated, although the figure exceeded expectations.

The Forum on China-Africa Cooperation was the second time China has brought together African leaders since the forum was launched in Beijing in 2000.