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Africa needs development that suits its needs-Xi
March 29, 2013, 8:04 am

Chinese President Xi at the 5th BRICS Summit.

Chinese President Xi at the 5th BRICS Summit [BRICS5]

Chinese President Xi Jinping said in Durban that China will be an all-weather friend of Africa.

“The development of China-Africa ties can only be in present continuous tense, and never in present perfect tense,” Xi said.

The Chinese President attended the BRICS leaders-Africa Dialogue in Durban on the sidelines of the BRICS Summit.

The African continent is now the second fastest growing continent after Asia, according to latest IMF figures.

Xi noted that Africa is now in a new critical stage in its pursuit of peace and development.

In a significant foreign policy message, Chinese President Xi Jinping’s maiden overseas trip included visits to three African countries- Tanzania, South Africa and the Republic of the Congo.

China’s trade with Africa has swelled over the past decade from about $10 billion in 2000 to $198.4 billion in 2012. China has been Africa’s largest trading partner since 2009.

“I am confident that, as long as it maintains peace and stability, and actively explores a development path that suits its own conditions, Africa will undoubtedly embrace a brighter future,” he said.

The Chinese president said with the international situation undergoing profound and complex changes, China-Africa ties face unprecedented opportunities for development, even as they are riddled with challenges.

China has been accused of fostering a neo-colonialist approach in it’s engagement with the continent.

However, President of Equatorial Guinea Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo was quoted by Xinhua as dismissing Western claims of Chinese “neo-colonialism” as “ridiculous and groundless”.

“China is an important country and a key participant in the world economy. We have full confidence in China. We believe that China is sincere in its ties with Africa and its hopes for the continent’s development,” said Obiang.

Oliver Stuenkel in an article for the BRICS Age magazine has argued that even as the BRICS are beginning to position themselves as ‘emerging donors’ in Africa, they need to go beyond mere affirmations of helping Africa advance.

Stuenkel also cautioned that BRICS need to avoid the fundamental mistakes the West made in Africa, causing lasting damage and economic distortions.

Xi in his meeting with African leaders in South Africa has asserted that the changing international landscape will have no bearing on Sino-African ties and China will remain a reliable partner of Africa.

As part of its efforts to enhance Africa’s capacity to develop itself, Xi said, China would help the continent train 30,000 professionals and provide 18,000 government scholarships for African students from 2013 to 2015.

With inputs from Xinhua