China has launched a three-pronged initiative in Africa focused on industrialisation, agricultural modernisation and talent development, deepening its influence on a continent where it has spent billions of dollars in infrastructure.
As part of President Xi Jinping’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) – which called for Chinese institutions to finance infrastructure in primarily poor countries – China has spent billions of dollars building roads, railways and ports across Africa.
China’s future investment would also focus on the three new areas, Xi said in a China-Africa leaders’ roundtable meeting held at the tail-end of the BRICS summit in Johannesburg with at least eight African presidents and other officials from the continent attending.
Xi said China had helped build more than 6,000 km of railway, over 6,000 km of highway, and 80-plus large-scale power facilities on the continent, and the focus would now would be to modernising other sectors in Africa.
“China will channel more resources of assistance, investment and financing toward programmes for industrialisation,” Xi said, but did not provide specific amounts for the planned investment.
He said China will also encourage Chinese companies to increase agricultural investment in Africa to help the continent modernise the sector and improve food production. Xi said China would also provide food assistance to some countries in need.
On talent development, his country would train thousands of technical personnel and invite similar numbers of African government officials to workshops in China to learn new skills.
South Africa’s President Cyril Ramaphosa said China’s investments had transformed infrastructure on the continent and the next step was for Africa to strive for middle-income status through improved productivity.
“We are in full support of the Belt and Road initiative that China has been implementing, and this has resulted in the creation of new roads, rail, port and energy investments in the African continent,” Ramaphosa said.
“It will also lead to industrialisation for the African continent and we will be able to address underdevelopment and unemployment,” he said of Xi’s new three-pronged initiative.
Source: Hellenic Shipping News