Beijing: ‘It is time for the African leadership to have a brutally honest self-assessment regarding the relationship with China. Is China following the footsteps of the countries that exploited Africa before?’
Daily Nation Kenya.
‘China is 70th in the list of the Per Capita Income and millions of its citizens are still below poverty line waiting for an elevation of the economic status.’
A Chinese citizen on Weibo (A Social networking site)
‘If you don’t have the capacity to complete the grandiose projects, it is better that you don’t venture into them. If you keep spending money on other countries without having the capacity to sustain it, nobody will be able to stop the internal discontent’
Sun Wenguang, Former Chinese Professor
In the last 17 years, the Communist government of China has splurged on investment and aid of more than USD 125 billion on the African continent. Despite this, the Chinese President Xi Jinping has once again announced an allocation of $ 60 billion for Africa during the China-Africa conference held last week. While the previous aid splurged on Africa is being severely criticised, indications are that the new announcement of additional millions of dollars, will further increase the problems faced by the Chinese government.
The Chinese government, aware of this fact, was seen adopting a defensive stance during the ‘Summit of Forum on China-African Cooperation’ conference. There was an all-round criticism on the ambitious, ‘One Belt One Road’ (OBOR) scheme promoted by Chinese President Xi Jinping. This led President Jinping to give an assurance that the funds will not be wasted in non-productive projects.
While announcing the $ 60 billion aid, President Jinping clarified that there are no political compulsions attached to the investment. $ 20 billion will be a loan in the form of a credit line and $ 15 billion in the form of aid. These include interest free as well as low interest loans. $ 10 billion has been reserved as a Special Fund and $ 5 billion is assigned for the imports from Africa.
Care has been taken that there is participation by African companies while providing investment and aid. Over the last two decades, China has invested more than $ 125 billion in developing infrastructural facilities like roads, oil projects, ports, bridges and railways. But all these facilities were given a ‘Made in China’ look by using companies, workers and raw material from China. The African locals were thrown aside in this process and violent repercussions are being felt in various African countries due of this.
While feeling the heat of the trade war with the United States, the Chinese economy is also in danger of falling into the trap of recession if the countries participating in the OBOR start withdrawing from it. China will now have to make the effort to improve its image with the help of the same African countries whom it was trying to lure by showing them the carrot of funding from a dominant position. The undertones from the ruling Chinese government before and after the ‘Summit of Forum on China-African cooperation’ conference indicate the same.