Li opens up new vistas in African ties

Updated: 2014-05-14 07:37

By Ngari Gituku (China Daily)

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Li's 2014 principles have deep roots in Zhou's visionary selflessness. In his speech to the African Union, Li outlined six main areas of cooperation between China and Africa: industry, finance, poverty reduction, environmental protection, people-to-people exchange, and peace and security. In other words, China leaves Africa in a better place and Africans eminently well experienced and better equipped to climb up to the next level.

Economically, Li visited West, South and East Africa, well representing the entire continent. In Nairobi (in East Africa), he met other heads of state from the sub-region. Among the pacts inked on this landmark leg of his tour were the establishment of the China-Africa Development Bank in the sub-region, headquartered in Nairobi, Kenya, with capital allocation of $2.5 billion. Also to be set up in Nairobi is the China-Africa Research Center with an allocation of $66 million.

The sub-region's greatest infrastructure project, the standard gauge railway, aimed at interconnecting eastern Africa that will greatly ease the movement of people and goods and thus facilitate trade, was also unveiled at a ceremony in Nairobi. It was attended among others by Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni, Rwandan President Paul Kagame, and South Sudan President Salva Kiir.

In Ethiopia, Li attended the ceremony to mark the completion of a highway built by Chinese enterprises, visited an industrial park, attended a seminar with businesspeople from China and African countries, delivered a speech at the African Union Convention Centre. In Nigeria, he attended the 2014 World Economic Forum on Africa. In Angola, he attended a seminar with Chinese companies and overseas Chinese and held talks aimed at strengthening the oil trade. And in Kenya, the only developing country that hosts a UN headquarters, Li met UN officials and discussed with them China's cooperation with the world body before wrapping up his Africa visit on a high and bountiful note.

The already expanding dimensions of Sino-African development cooperation in such sectors as roads, railways and telecom services were exponentially heightened in the course of Li's visit, with Chinese ministers and company executives accompanying Li signing dozens of agreements with their African counterparts.

Most importantly, the way the Chinese premier and his team were embraced throughout their four-nation tour leaves no room for negativity.

The author is vice-chair of China-Africa Friendship Association (Kenya), and culture editor of Nairobi-based Diplomat East Africa Magazine.

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