By Victor Ochieng
The Chinese government plans to invest $60 billion in Africa over the next three years. The projects that the Asian giant intends to pump money into include poverty reduction initiatives, industrialization, infrastructure, and health.
President Xi Jinping made the announcement at the same time that the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation summit was underway in Johannesburg, South Africa. The planned investment is to strengthen the country’s involvement in the continent.
“China-Africa relations have today reached a stage of growth unmatched in history,” Xi said at the ceremony, according to Xinhua. “Let’s join hands…and open a new era of China-Africa win-win cooperation and common development.”
China is currently Africa’s biggest trading partner, having overtaken the U.S. in recent years. The country is core to African trade to the extent that the economic slowdown China experienced adversely affected commodity prices in the continent. African countries exporting products such as iron ore and oil to China have been badly hit by the economic meltdown.
Through the investment, China aims to address talent shortage, improve the continent’s infrastructure and enhance industrialization. To ensure that the projects are effective, funds will be released through different channels such as scholarships, vocational training, and exchange programs with Chinese institutions, among others.
Besides these projects, China is also planning to lend the continent zero-interest loans for improving the economies of African countries. With rampant food shortages in the continent, China also plans to set aside $156 million for emergency food aid.
Although figures were mentioned, there was no breakdown on how the funds would be allocated to different African nations.
There is no doubt that China wants to maintain its dominance in Africa, both in trade and military presence. Just recently, the country announced that it’s setting up a military base in Djibouti, a project that’s marking its first of that nature in Africa. That base will serve the country in gathering intelligence and help the country entrench its investment activities in the continent.
China’s growing presence in Africa poses a huge economic threat to the U.S., something that has seen American officials increase their investment efforts in the continent.
Africa is a key global partner in business, supplying diverse minerals and other natural resources to Asian and European countries as well as America.