Chinese FM wraps up five-nation Africa visit, hails 'new changes' in cooperation
NAIROBI -- Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi wrapped up his African tour on Thursday that carried him to Madagascar, Zambia, Tanzania, Republic of Congo and Nigeria, at a time when China-Africa cooperation is going from strength to strength.
The foreign minister's visit was in keeping with China's nearly three-decade-long diplomatic tradition of making Africa its first overseas destination each year.
Such a tradition signifies that "China always regards developing countries as the cornerstone of its diplomacy and Africa its priority," Wang said during the visit.
NEW DRIVING FORCE, POSITIVE CHANGES
China announced 10 major cooperation plans which are aimed at helping Africa realize industrialization and agricultural modernization, at the Johannesburg summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC).
China also promised $60 billion as funding support to see these plans through.
The implementation of these plans has constituted a new driving force for the China-Africa cooperation, Wang said while in Zambia.
The cooperation has witnessed a fast growth since then, with many Chinese companies coming to Africa to invest and establish plants. From the Dec. 2015 Johannesburg summit to July, 2016, the agreements signed in various fields between China and Africa were valued at over 50 billion U.S. dollars.
Wang said in this process "three new changes" has emerged in terms of China-Africa cooperation. A government-led pattern has gradually evolved into one where the market plays a major role. General merchandise trade has been gradually upgraded to production capacity cooperation, processing and trade. There is also a gradual shift from basic project contracting to investment, construction and operation.
Many China-funded mega projects in Africa were completed in 2016, paving way for materializing the ambitions laid out at the summit. Among them are the 752.7-km Ethiopia-Djibouti Railway, Nigeria's 186.5-km Abuja-Kaduna standard gauge railway and Tanzania's 680-meter-long, six-lane Nyerere Bridge, the largest cable-stayed cross-sea bridge in East Africa.
China, Zambia and Tanzania will work to revitalize the Tanzania-Zambia Railway, built with Chinese assistance in the 1970s and a monument to the China-Africa friendship.
Through comprehensive reform of the management system, effectively linking the railway to ports and building an industrial economic belt along the railway, it is hoped that the 1,860-km railway line will gain renewed vigor and contribute to helping Tanzania, Zambia and other African countries realize independent and sustainable development.