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Xi Jinping begins African tour in Tanzania amid anti-China sentiment

Xi Jinping in Tanzania

Xi Jinping in Tanzania

Chinese President Xi Jinping began on Sunday a tour of Africa that underlines the continent’s strategic importance to China both for its resources and as a market place, signing more than a dozen trade and cooperation deals with Tanzania.

Visiting, Tanzania, South Africa and Republic of Congo on his first trip abroad as president following a visit to Russia, Xi is expected to build on expanding economic relations that many Africans see as a healthy counterbalance to the influence of the West.

He might also address concerns in Africa that the continent is exporting raw materials while spending heavily to import finished consumer goods from the Asian economic powerhouse.

“He will be looking to tone down the feeling that China is just here to exploit resources. I think that is going to be his main job,” James Shikwati, director of the Nairobi-based Inter Regional Economic Network think tank, told Reuters.

The agreements with Tanzania included plans to co-develop a new port and industrial zone complex, a concessional loan for communications infrastructure and an interest free loan to the Tanzanian government. No details were given on the size of the loans or the monetary value of the projects.

On Monday Xi will deliver his first policy speech on Africa.

He will then head to South Africa for a summit of leaders of the world’s major emerging economies, known as the BRICS, on Tuesday and Wednesday, and could endorse plans to create a joint foreign exchange reserves pool and an infrastructure.

The proposal underscores frustrations among emerging markets at having to rely on the World Bank and International Monetary Fund, which are seen as reflecting the interests of the United States and other industrialized nations.

The east African seaboard is hot property after huge gas discoveries in Tanzania and neighboring Mozambique. Chinese oil company CNPC this month acquired a 20 percent stake in the Eni Mozambique offshore project worth $4.21 billion, linking one of the planet’s biggest untapped gas resources with the fastest growing gas consuming country.

Oil strikes in the region have also caught China’s eye. But across eastern Africa, poor infrastructure and inadequate regulation risk delaying large scale oil and gas production.


China has built roads, railways, and landmark buildings across Africa to win access to its oil and minerals like copper and uranium.

“China is what we call an all-weather friend,” said teacher Mwajuma Swai. “They don’t flip-flop like the West and they don’t give us a string of conditions for aid and trade.”

But China’s increasing presence in Africa has prompted concern as well as gratitude.

Nigeria’s central bank chief, Lamido Sanusi, said Africans should wake up to the realities of their “romance with China.”

“So China takes our primary goods and sells us manufactured ones. This was also the essence of colonialism,” Sanusi wrote in the Financial Times this month. “Africa is now willingly opening itself up to a new form of imperialism.”

“We must see China for what it is: a competitor.”

Sanusi’s comments were echoed in the streets of Dar es Salaam, decked out with Chinese flags for Xi’s visit. Businessman Hamisi Mwalimu said: “We need a smart partnership where both Tanzania and China benefit. Right now, they’re getting a much better deal than us.”

At a China-Africa summit last year, Xi’s predecessor Hu Jintao pledged to help Africa export manufactured products, not just raw materials, and to import from the continent.

Hu also offered $20 billion in loans to African countries over a three year period, boosting China’s good relations with the continent and unsettling the West which criticises Beijing for overlooking human rights abuses in its business dealings with Africa.

Such criticism draws rebukes from China that the West treats Africa as though it were a colony.

“Africa wants to be treated as an equal, and this is what many Western countries do not understand, or are at least are not willing to do,” Zhong Jianhua, China’s special envoy to Africa, told Reuters in an interview this month.

Zhong acknowledged Chinese companies faced criticism for using Chinese workers on African infrastructure and mining projects. Beijing estimates almost 1 million Chinese are working in Africa.

“We have told Chinese companies that they cannot just use Chinese workers,” Zhong said. “I think most Chinese firms now realize this.”

Yet not all African governments appear that worried with the use of Chinese workers, especially for infrastructure projects.

“China isn’t coming to Congo to create jobs,” Republic of Congo Ambassador to China, Daniel Owassa, told Reuters.

Source: Reuters – “China’s Xi arrives in Africa with focus on trade ties”

About chankaiyee2

Author of the book "Tiananmen's Tremendous Achievements" about how with the help of Tiananmen Protests, talented scholars with moral integrity seized power in the Party and state and brought prosperity to China. The second edition of the book will be published within a few days to mark the 25th anniversary of Tiananmen Protests All the parts in the first edition remain in the second edition with a few changes due to information available later and better understanding. There are also some changes for improvements of style. The new parts are Chapters 12-19 on events in China after the first edition was published: The fierce power struggle for succession between reformists and conservatives; Xi Jinping winning all elders’ support during his mysterious disappearance for 2 weeks in early September, 2012; and Xi Jinping Cyclone. Chan Kai Yee's new book: SPACE ERA STRATEGY: The Way China Beats The US An eye-opening book that tells the truth how the US is losing to China. The US is losing as it adopts the outdated strategy of Air-Sea Battle while China adopts the space era strategy to pursue integrated space and air capabilities: It is losing due to its diplomacy that has given rise to Russian-Chinese alliance. US outdated strategy has enabled China to catch up and surpass the US in key weapons: Hypersonic weapons (HGV) that Pentagon regards as the weapon that will dominate the world in the future. Aerospaceplane in China’s development of space-air bomber that can engage enemy anywhere in the world within an hour and destroy an entire aircraft carrier battle group within minutes. Anti-satellite (ASAT) weapons, anti-ASAT weapons, stealth aircrafts, drones, AEW&C, etc. The book gives detailed descriptions of China’s weapon development based on information mainly from Chinese sources that the author monitors closely. U.S. Must Not Be Beaten by China! China is not a democracy. Its political system cannot prevent the emergence of a despotic leader or stop such a leader when he begins to bring disasters to people. A few decades ago, Mao Zedong, the worst tyrant in world history did emerge and bring disasters to Chinese people. He wanted to fight a nuclear war to replace capitalism with communism but could not bring nuclear holocaust to world people as China was too weak and poor at that time. If a despot like Mao Zedong emerges when China has surpassed the US in military strength, world people will suffer the misery experienced by Chinese people in Mao era. China surpassing the US in GDP is not something to worry about as China has the heavy burden to satisfy its huge population, but China surpassing the US in military strength will be world people’s greatest concern if China remains an autocracy. US people are of much better quality than Chinese people. What they lack is a wise leader to adopt the correct strategy and diplomacy and the creative ways to use its resources in developing its military capabilities. I hope that with the emergence of a great leader, the US can put an end to its decline and remain number one in the world. China, US, space era strategy, air-sea battle, space-air bomber, arms race, weapon development, chan kai yee

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