China connects Africa, cooperation despite COVID-19

China connects Africa, cooperation despite COVID-19


(News 24h) – Foreign Minister Vuong Nghi continuously promoted the Belt-Road initiative, affirming his readiness to finance infrastructure projects in the black continent.

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi visited Africa in the early days of the new year 2021. This seems to have become an annual event in the Black Continent: welcoming China’s top diplomat, bringing new expectations for investment in infrastructure development, thereby promoting socio-economic development.

China connects Africa, agreement with COVID-19
Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi (right) received his Ghanaian counterpart Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey at a meeting in 2019. Photo: AP

Wang Yi’s New Year’s Day visit signals that Beijing remains ready to fund infrastructure projects under the Belt and Road Initiative.

On a trip last week, from the Seychelles Islands to the most populous country in mainland Nigeria, Wang made it clear: “China is ready to help Africa strengthen its infrastructure, trade, and financial connections. main “.

Foreign Minister Wang Yi also signaled that Beijing was ready to promote military and security cooperation with Africa, towards resolving political conflicts.

“China is ready to help Africa strengthen its peacekeeping and counterterrorism capacity, in a joint effort to build a safer Africa,” Wang said.

Wang’s visit also took place in the Democratic Republic of Congo and Botswana, analysts said, aimed at strengthening China’s diplomatic and economic influence on the continent and repairing rift relations with some countries.

Not only concentrating on the black continent, China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said on January 10 that Wang will continue his trip with visits to Myanmar, Indonesia, Brunei and the Philippines this week.

SCMP quoted Mr. Yun Sun, program director of China at the Stimson Center in Washington, saying that traveling to Africa has become a tradition of Chinese foreign ministers at the beginning of the new year. This year, the tour offers an opportunity to alleviate tensions caused by growing concerns about debt and the discrimination some African citizens have suffered in the southern Chinese city of Guangzhou. of the COVID-19 outbreak last year.

At that time, the incident caused a strained relationship in the bilateral relationship. In April 2020, the Guangzhou City Government (China) announced that a total of 111 Africans had received positive results for COVID-19 a day earlier. A total of 4,552 Africans in the city have been tested for COVID-19 since April 4, 2020.

The Guangzhou government requires all international students and African tourists to test for COVID-19 and quarantine themselves within 14 days, regardless of recent travel history, for fear of “imported cases. reverse”.

China connects Africa, agreement with COVID-19
China is committed to pouring money into infrastructure projects in Africa.

On April 11, 2020, the front page of the Daily Nation, the largest newspaper in Kenya, ran the headline “Kenyan citizens in China: Save us from hell”. Earlier, a member of the country’s parliament urged Chinese citizens to leave Kenya immediately. Similarly, Ugandan, South African and Nigerian television stations have published a lot about the above discrimination cases.

African governments quickly asked Beijing to respond to information about their citizens being discriminated against in China. The governments of Uganda and Ghana have invited Chinese Ambassadors to their countries to work for the same cause. Meanwhile, the South African Foreign Ministry declared “deeply concerned” about such information.

The Chinese Foreign Ministry then worked very hard to reconcile and defuse the allegations. Due to the complex situation of the global epidemic, Chinese diplomats affirmed: “All foreigners are treated equally. We reject different treatment and will not tolerate excrement. special treatment. “

Vaccine diplomacy

Outside the Belt and Road, the Chinese foreign minister’s intention to visit African countries is probably not out of China’s vaccine ambitions to advertise.

China connects Africa, agreement with COVID-19
China soon had success with the previous COVID-19 vaccine around the world.

Tim Zajontz, a researcher at the University of Edinburgh’s Center for African Studies, said that it was no coincidence that Secretary of State Wang Yi chose this time to visit Africa, as discussions surrounding COVID vaccine delivery -19 global is a “hot” topic attracting the attention of the world.

“The race to supply and distribute COVID-19 vaccines in Africa has become geopolitical. For the Chinese government, providing vaccines at affordable prices without posing challenges in terms of Logistics is seen as an opportunity to increase soft power influence in Africa “, said expert Zajontz.

According to Zajontz, China’s vaccine diplomacy is being pushed more strongly in the context that Western governments have the ability to purchase all available vaccines in the next few months.

“The Chinese government has always stressed the need to provide vaccines to Africans as soon as possible,” said expert Zajontz.

Stephen Chan, professor of politics and international relations at the University of London’s School of Oriental and African Studies, said Foreign Minister Wang Yi’s visit “was definitely related to China’s vaccine diplomacy. “.

“The trip to 5 African countries signals to the entire sub-Saharan Africa region that China is still in the game and that the trade war with the US does not diminish its commitment to Africa” ​​- Professor Chan said.

According to Zajontz, Foreign Minister Wang Yi’s trip is also intended to confirm China’s commitment to Africa in the context of economic instability caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Mr. Zajontz said that the resource-rich African economies such as the Congo and Nigeria are highly dependent on China’s need to recover from the pandemic.

According to a 2017 report by McKinsey (USA), across Africa, there are more than 10,000 Chinese-owned companies and one-third of them are related to manufacturing. The report estimates that 12% of all industrial production in Africa – worth $ 500 billion a year – is managed by Chinese companies.

Jinhua

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