China is expanding its influence in Africa, where it has invested billions in infrastructure, through industrialization, agricultural modernization, and talent development.
China has invested billions in developing roads, trains, and ports across Africa as part of President Xi Jinping’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).
In a China-Africa leaders’ roundtable meeting at the tail-end of the BRICS 2023 conference in Johannesburg with at least eight African presidents and other officials, Xi said China would invest in the three new areas.
Xi Jinping said China has built over 6,000 kilometres of railway, highway, and 80-plus large-scale power plants in Africa and will now modernize other areas.
He said, “China will channel more resources of assistance, investment, and financing toward programs for industrialization,” but did not specify figures.
He said China would urge Chinese enterprises to invest more in African agriculture to modernize and improve food production. Xi said China would help needy nations with food.
His country trained thousands of technical staff and invited equivalent numbers of African government leaders to China for skill development.
President Cyril Ramaphosa said China’s investments had reshaped Africa’s infrastructure and that Africa could become middle-income through productivity.
“We fully support China’s Belt and Road initiative, which has led to new roads, rail, port, and energy investments in Africa,” Ramaphosa added.
“It will also lead to industrialization for the African continent and we can address underdevelopment and unemployment,” he added of Xi’s three-pronged effort.
“China and Africa should work together to build an open and inclusive world economy, advocating for the building of an open world economy, where developing countries are better involved in the international division of labour and share the fruits of economic globalization,” Xi stated further.
Notably, this is the first offline meeting between Chinese and African leaders since the COVID-19 pandemic, which will help to deepen China-Africa relations further, analysts told the Global Times, noting that Xi Jinping’s participation in the BRICS Summit in Africa and the meeting with African leaders are helping to draw the blueprint for future China-Africa cooperation and will further promote the building of a closer China-Africa community with a shared future.
President Xi Jinping also noted that in 2024, China would host the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC), where China and Africa would come together again and draw up new plans for development.
“These three initiatives on industrialization, agriculturalization, and talent development reflect Africa’s aspirations for modernization and are also the core for development in Africa’s Agenda 2063 development blueprint, which highlights China’s inherent and consistent support for Africa’s development,” Song Wei, a professor from the School of International Relations at Beijing Foreign Studies University, told the Global Times.