NAIROBI –– In recent years, the West has conjured up fantastic theories like “neo-colonialism”, “China is exploiting Africa’s resources,” etc, effectively throwing mud at China over its win-win cooperation with Africa. These theories, however, have increasingly become unpopular as China and Africa have constantly expanded cooperation in terms of scope and content over the years to focus on building up Africa’s ability to sustain its own development and creating a win-win scenario.
At the just concluded African Union summit in the Ethiopian capital, the world witnessed the birth of a “century document” detailing China-Africa cooperation on infrastructure projects across the African continent.
Spanning nearly half a century and covering the entire African continent, this memorandum of understanding (MoU) has elevated China’s win-win relationship with Africa to a new height.
While African leaders embraced the blueprint designed to improve Africa’s infrastructure, which has long been stifling economic growth, some Western media were obviously not happy about it.
Floating terms like “concrete diplomacy”, “neocolonialism”, etc, they opted to be a jealousy kind who loathed being sidelined and conspired to drive a wedge between two partners who do not fear to work up a sweat for better future.”When the West labels Chinese aid and infrastructural projects in Africa as neocolonial, it is a question of sour grapes,” said Professor Munene Macharia, lecturer of international relations with Kenya-based United States International University.
The notoriety of the West’s colonization in Africa, which lasted for hundreds of years dating back to the 15th century, is well-known to the world. Even today, Western powers, in particular those in western Europe separated from Africa only by the Mediterranean, cannot break out of a mentality to see Africa as their “backyard”.
Long gone is the history of enslavement in Africa. But the ills of one-sided economic structure and backward infrastructure, left behind by Western colonisers, are not easily remedied. Today, Africa remains the only continent that has not realized industrialisation. Its weak status in the global economy had roots in the colonial past.
Nowadays, natural resources like oil, gas and minerals in many African countries are in fact controlled by Western powers, who have taken advantage of their dominant role in the global economic and trade order.
On the other hand, Africa has gained little as it has long been treated by the West as a material supplier and market to dump industrial products.
The West is not happy that China is assisting Africa to overcome one of its biggest challenges that is faces today,” said Macharia.
“The West has been in Africa for a long time but has never made development of Africa’s infrastructure as a priority,” he added. “The Western nations only develop infrastructure in Africa that helped to ship Africa’s resources to the West,” said Dr. Gerishon Ikiara, lecturer of international economics with University of Nairobi, and ex-Permanent Secretary with Kenya’s Ministry of Transport and Communications.
The West’s defamation will not eclipse China’s honesty and sincerity with African brothers.
In a vivid description of the vision of cooperation with Africa, Chinese President Xi Jinping said that the phoenix will come if the nest is built and that teaching one to fish is better than giving him a fish.By tackling infrastructure, China and Africa have chosen to root out a bottleneck that has long checked Africa’s economic growth, and clear the way for Africa to promote self-sustained development and accelerate industrialization.
As a Chinese saying goes, “wealth is not far away if roads are built”. China is willing to share with Africa the most valuable experience it has learned and has been practicing over the past 30- odd years of reform and opening up and rapid economic growth.
Facts speak louder than words. China has long been helping Africa with infrastructure development and have completed 1,046 projects, built railways with the total length of 2,233 km and highways with the total length of 3,530 km in Africa, making tangible contributions to the improvement of living and working conditions in Africa.
The acrimony and suspicion was obvious as certain Western media hyped up the so-called “concrete diplomacy” in an attempt to belittle China’s assistance with Africa in defusing the bottleneck and improving infrastructure.
As the world’s second largest economy, China has become more sophisticated in dealing with such Western media hypes.”Some say that China is conducting ‘concrete diplomacy’ by helping Africa with infrastructure development. I believe that is what badly needed by Africa in pursuing economic growth,” Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Hua Chunying told a recent press briefing. – Xinhua