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Chinese President Xi Jinping visits Africa: China’s Belt and Road initiative

Chinese leader Xi Jinping embarks on a four-nation visit to Africa, which marks his first since being appointed a second term and his third to Africa. So far, Mr. Xi has visited Senegal, Rwanda, and is currently in South Africa for the BRICS Summit before finishing the tour in Mauritius.

China has been expanding its relationship with African countries in recent years.

In 2016 alone, China invested $39bn in the continent bringing the total to a record-breaking $220 billion.

“China’s top leadership (The President, Prime Minister and Foreign Minister) has made a total of 79 visits to 43 different African countries over the past 10 years” stated the international consulting firm Development Reimagined.


Mr. Xi landed in Dakar, the capital of the West African country of Senegal, on Saturday, July 21, for a two-day visit. He walked off his plane on a red carpet to meet President Macky Sall and Prime Minister Mohammed Dionne.

Following bilateral meetings and discussions, Senegal agreed to be the first West African country to be a part of China’s Belt and Road initiative, a multi-billion dollar plan to bring back ancient trading routes centered on China.

This gigantic infrastructure project is projected to link Asia, Europe, and Africa.

“Senegal takes a positive view of China’s role in Africa, for its contribution to peace and stability and equally.. for the financing of budgets,” said Senegalese President Macky Sall during a press conference.

In March, China’s ambassador to Senegal Zhang Xun was quoted by the local press as saying China had invested $100 million in Senegal in 2017.


President Xi’s trip to Rwanda marks another first. The first time a Chinese leader is visiting the country.

Rwandan President and African Union Chairman Paul Kagame rolled the red carpet for President Xi and his wife, Peng Liyuan, in Kigali on Monday, July 23.

China is by far Rwanda’s largest trading partner with 70% of roads in the country built by Chinese companies. The giant economic power invested more than $400 million in 61 projects and joint ventures over the last 12 years, according to Chinese ambassador to Rwanda Rao Hongwei.

According to Xi Jinping’s statement, China’s diplomatic relations with the Central African nation had been established in 1971. His present visit was to strengthen bilateral ties and increase China’s investments in the region.

Earlier this year, the IMF stated that Rwanda is the third fastest growing economy in Africa.

South Africa

The Chinese President is currently in South Africa for a state visit ahead of a summit of the leaders of the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) economies. He was welcomed by South African President Cyril Ramaphosa at the Government Union Building in Pretoria. The leaders of the two nations plan to hold a meeting in Pretoria in order to draw the path for further enriching bilateral relations.

Xi will take part in the 10th BRICS summit in Johannesburg as part of Chinese diplomatic efforts to enhance its business relations with developing countries with emerging markets.
The Chinese and South African presidents will then be present at a celebration to celebrate the 20th anniversary since South Africa and China started walking through the road of cooperation under the guidance of South Africa’s icon and ex-President Nelson Mandela.

For 20 years, China and South Africa have witnessed growing mutual political trust and constructive cooperation. The China-South Africa relations’ developed went from a partnership to a strategic partnership and then to a comprehensive strategic partnership.


President Xi will land in Mauritius on Friday, July 27, where he is scheduled to meet with Prime Minister Pravind Jugnautaut the next day to discuss possible bilateral relations, and international and regional issues that concern both parts.

Mauritius has an economic zone of over 2 million km² and preferential access to trade blocs such as the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) and Southern African Development Community (SADC).

The US worries

Many critics accuse China of lending to its Beld and Road partner countries under overwhelming conditions that they may struggle to fulfill.

The US thinks the countries are not prepared for such huge investment and may end up deeply in debt to China. However, recent offensive remarks from US President Donald Trump have strained relations with the continent.

Critics believe that African countries are turning to China in rejection of US policies.


Source: Xinhua News Agency


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