China under the leadership of president Xi Jinping and African Presidents gathered in Beijing- China for what many called an economic and accord signing forum. The 7th Forum on China-Africa cooperation (FOCAC) brought together China and some 53 African countries with which it has diplomatic relations, with the African Union inclusive. Swaziland now eswatini was however; absent due to its ties with Taiwan. The landmark economic forum ran from September 3-4 this year and was held under the theme; “China and Africa: Towards an Even Stronger Community with a Shared Future through Win-Win Cooperation.” The summit gave birth to a new start for China and Africa that would influence economic growth and development of African countries. To spur investment, China pledged a $60 billion to Africa. Pundits have expressed fear that Chinese investment in the African Continent could create national economies completely reliant on China’.
DEALS SIGNED DURING FOCAC 2018
Many eminent matters were discussed during this summit aimed at boosting China-Africa ties and to spur development in Africa. The common deal was the Belt and Road initiative that almost all the participating nations backed. This project aimed at securing more resources and means, increase the market and gap for African development. FOCAC 2018 addressed issues ranging from economic, trade, energy, Agriculture, security. A nation like Kenya bargained for deals in form of credits and grants. Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta and China’s President Xi Jinping would see to the release of Sh380 billion ($3.77 billion) for the funding of a Kenyan railway project. Nigeria inked a $328 million concessional loan accord with China for the Information and Communication Technology Infrastructure Backbone Phase II (NICTIB II), among others. Nations like Gambia; Gabon, South Africa also entered into securing profitable deals with the leadership of China.
But will Africa really benefit from these deals?
- Economically, these deals are set to promote African economy at all levels in industrialisation, promote economic growth, reduce cost of living and encourage employment.
- Trade: Through more trade deals, China will assist Africa in building infrastructure, invest and even open factories in the continent, it will also provide Africa with many high-quality and cheap goods, purchase African goods to help its economic development.
- Energy: This will promote the building of energy infrastructure like dams, reservoir, to promote economic growth and reduced poverty. It is worth noting that energy is the main tool for economic transformation.
- Agriculture: About 80 % of the population in developing countries is engaged in agriculture for survival, thus if China provides aid or subsidies to farmers, it will therefore, boost the agricultural sector.
It is no doubt that Sino-Africa relations looks promising at the moment; however, African governments need to harness this cooperation in a way it would address some socio-economic matters and ensure a win-win partnership on both sides.