China’s infrastructure investment helps fast track development in Africa: Expert

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The increased investment by Western countries in Africa is a validation of the China-Africa cooperation model, which largely focuses on investment in infrastructure and has been fruitful in spurring development across the continent, says a Nigerian policy analyst.

In an interview with China Global Television Network (CGTN) on Wednesday, Ovigwe Eguegu, an analyst at an independent African-led international development consultancy called Development Reimagined, made the remarks as he refuted groundless accusations by western media that China’s presence in Africa is “debt-trap diplomacy”.

This comes as China is Africa’s biggest investor. Rising trade flows and greater investment have been “and will remain” critical to promoting job creation, growth, development, and integration into the global economy. Many of the infrastructure projects that are helping to transform and develop Africa are Chinese-funded.

“African countries have realised that the infrastructure model or infrastructure investment model that China is taking with Africa actually is very positive for African development. And not just even African countries realising that, you see that the G7’s Partnership for Global Infrastructure and Investment, the PGII, and even the European Union’s global gateway all came after the BRI (Belt and Road Initiative). And I will always argue that those two initiatives by Western countries were introduced because they have recognised the positive impact that infrastructure investment has created in developing countries.

So, in a way, it is a validation of China’s approach. And that’s why many African countries, who have been arguing even before those initiatives were put up by Western countries, continue to work more closely with China,” says Eguegu.

China’s new Foreign Minister Qin Gang, who previously held the post as China’s Ambassador to the U.S., is starting his term with a week-long trip to five African countries: Ethiopia, Gabon, Angola, Benin and Egypt from Monday to Jan 16. This is the 33rd consecutive year that Africa has been the first overseas destination of a year for every Chinese foreign minister.

Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed on Tuesday met with Qin Gang in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa, saying that Qin’s choice of Ethiopia as the first stop of his African tour fully demonstrates the profound friendship between the two countries and the importance of bilateral relations.

“If you listen to what the Ethiopian prime minister said during the ongoing visit of Foreign Minister Qin Gang, he did say that there will be strengthening of exchanges of governance experience between China and Ethiopia. And all of this is because of the fact that countries have realized that when it comes to China-Africa relations, there is a model, and the model has delivered so far. So, whether you are looking at infrastructure, you are looking at trade policy, policy coordination, financial inclusion and people-to-people exchanges, so it’s a very robust collaboration or cooperation,” Eguegu says.