China defends aid and business role in Africa

30 January 2015

China, the continent’s largest trading partner, has offered a spirited defence of its aid to Africa, rejecting charges of “concrete diplomacy” and of seeking only to extract the continent’s resources, following a major infrastructure deal with the continent.

China and the African Union announced Tuesday an ambitious plan to develop road, rail and air transport routes to link capitals across the continent, though few details were released and the deal was described as a commitment to develop the infrastructure.

The memorandum of understanding (MOU) was signed at AU headquarters in Addis Ababa, ahead of a summit meeting of the leaders of the 54-nation pan-African bloc on Friday.
Foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said: “A well functioning road will lead wealth to your place,” she said, adding that projects under the MOU will help African countries “enhance their connectivity” and “break their development bottleneck”.

China had completed 1,046 projects in Africa, building 2,233 kilometres of railways, 3,530 kilometres of roads and 132 schools and hospitals, she said.

Read the latest issue

Latest Issue