Beijing is at its best when it comes to making inroads into developing countries. That is why more than 50 per cent of its human input, technical services, funding and foreign missions are based in the Dark Continent.
The sense of business was evident as China promised to pour in $20 billion in credit for Africa, and called for a push in trade ties. This is a welcome development from the economic superpower of the world, especially at times when recession reins the roost. The loans meant for infrastructure, agriculture and small business are likely to go a long way in supporting many of the countries of Africa who have attained self-reliance by virtue of tightening their belts. The added advantage that such economic diplomacy brings with it is the leverage on foreign affairs, which has been the charm for Beijing. Africa being the largest trading partner with a record volume of interaction as high as $166 billion is an asset in itself. The intention to proliferate small business and make African goods accessible in the developed West is more of a political ambition, as two important members of the BRICS — China and South Africa — work restlessly for self-reliance and development. This is resounding not only in political realms but also in economic terms.
It remains to be seen how the renewed interaction is conducted and what impact Africa makes for China at times when its assertiveness at the United Nations is in wanting. Since the good old days of the Non-Aligned Movement when a host of countries endeavoured to strike a balance and impartiality in foreign affairs, no considerate effort had been made to this day. One hopes the Sino-African bond could at least set in a nexus wherein the developing countries are aided and traded without political preconditions. (Khaleej Times)