The launch of China’s Belt and Road Initiative in Africa will benefit both sides, Chinese Ambassador to Egypt Liao Liqiang has said.
Speaking at a press conference on Monday, the Ambassador said that over the past 30 years, Chinese foreign ministers have been keen to visit African countries at the beginning of each year.
This was seen as a confirmation of friendship, an expression of China’s desire to achieve development in Africa, and an embodiment of Beijing’s standing by developing countries as one of its diplomatic priorities.
Liqiang added that China has provided medical aid to 53 African countries as they battle the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
China has also dispatched medical experts to most countries across the continent, and seeks to make Chinese vaccines a global benefit, so that Africa can access the vaccine at an acceptable price. This comes alongside ongoing Chinese development projects in Africa despite the pandemic.
Ambassador Liqiang said that 1,100 Chinese projects in Africa have continued working, despite the global pandemic, whilst other projects have been resumed. These projects include the construction of railways, highways, and stations for generating electric power.
He rejected reports that his country is looking to take advantage of African countries, and highlighted that China was one of the first countries to cooperate with its African counterparts. China inaugurated the China-Africa Cooperation Forum 20 years ago, with this cooperation achieving fruitful results.
China has also built more than 6,000 railway lines, 45 stadiums, 170 schools, and 45 health centres. Moreover, Chinese aid to the continent is tangible and positive, particularly as China sees Africa as a platform for cooperation rather than as a platform for competition.
Ambassador Liqiang added that a recent African tour by his country’s Foreign Minister, Wang Yi, is an annual habit that Chinese diplomacy has been undertaking since 1991. He noted that the pandemic has not changed this habit, due to its being a constant of Chinese foreign policy.
“Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and Botswana,” Liqiang said, “This was to participate in the Belt and Road Initiative, bringing the number of the initiative’s members to 46 countries.”
He added, “Besides this, [Minister Wang] signed economic MoUs with three other African countries to develop economic and sustainable development.”