Africa is set to benefit from China’s aid package of 60 billion dollars according to the announcement made by the Chinese President Xi Jinping.
The permanent co-operation was announced by President Xi Jinping during the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation in Johannesburg, South Africa, December last year. He noted that the African countries will have access to the financial aid package as loans.
According to the released policy paper, the aid package will include 5 billion dollars in interest-free loans and another 35 billion at preferential rates.
This is the second policy paper to be published by the government after the first one in 2006. Since the first policy, China’s involvement in Africa has been felt in the past decade. The establishment of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) over 15 years ago, further enhanced China-Africa relations towards development.
The second policy paper elucidates China’s determination and goodwill to cooperate with Africa towards development measures and approaches to transform the region and further strengthen the bond between the two.
In the next three years, the financial aid is meant to finance 10 co-operation programs in various sectors including: agriculture, industrialization, reduction of poverty, health, culture, security, protection of the environment as well as green development. Further, African least developed countries will have their free government debts due at the end of 2015 erased. The Chinese President promised.
Here are some of Xi Jinping's Pledges to Africa that I feel could benefit Africa more
Supporting Africa in confronting non-traditional security threats
Terrorism and piracy have been like a tooth-ache to many African countries. Chinese government promised to uproot the menace from Africa through partnerships. Security is key to any developing economy and should be upheld.
China is willing to support and strengthen cooperation with Africa in intelligence sharing and capacity building, and improve capabilities to confront non-traditional security threats together with African countries.
Encouraging exchanges between academia and think tanks
Next to security, education is a major contributor to growth and development. Large economies in the world have invested heavily in education. Through education, research on various issues affecting development including security, health, finance and environment can be carried out for the benefit of the economy.
China has vowed to actively implement the China-Africa Joint Research and Exchange Plan and the China-Africa Think Tanks 10+10 Partnership Plan. It will support Chinese and African research institutes and think tanks to engage in multi-forms of exchanges and cooperation, such as joint researches, seminars, and publishing of books.
Expanding tourism cooperation
For Africa to grow, it needs to exploit home-made opportunities that exist including culture, environment, animals and other resources that attract tourists to the region. Africa is a major tourist destination for many tourists across the world, because of its rich and diverse culture among other reasons.
Luckily, China knows too well the importance of tourism to the region’s economy. In addition to supporting tourism promotion activities in each other's countries and regions, China will also encourage airlines on both sides to open more air routes and operate more flights between China and Africa. It is also willing to engage in mutually beneficial cooperation in tourism infrastructure development, thereby improving and optimizing the environment for tourism.
When it comes to culture and sports, China will continue to set up more Confucius Institutes in African countries, and encourage and support the opening of Chinese cultural centers in Africa and African cultural centers in China.
There are many more pledges that the Chinese government promised Africa, the list is long. But these three appealed to me more as they speak of things that Africa is already doing and need a little nudge to make them bigger and better.
I feel education, security, infrastructure and corruption are major areas that need to be emphasized on in Africa right now. Once these are dealt with, Africa can wipe out poverty and kick out diseases that affect its rapid growth.
If only China had a recipe for corruption. It would have served the continent better. Not to say that Africa is the only corrupt continent, NO, but the levels of injustices due to this evil, are out of this world!
Image Credit: Reuters