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Xi's visit to Africa will lift relations to higher level: China Daily editorial

2018-07-22 22:52:00 (Beijing Time)         Chinadaily.com.cn

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President Xi hailed the great dynamism of Africa when he arrived in Senegal on Saturday, the first stop on a four-country trip to Africa, that also takes him to Rwanda, South Africa and Mauritius.

A key driver of this dynamism has been the boom in infrastructure projects managed and financed by China as part of its Belt and Road Initiative, which aims to build a transport network spanning Asia, the Middle East, Africa and Europe.

Over the past five years, China and African have made concerted efforts to advance their cooperation under the framework of this vision for common development, and Chinese investments into Africa have increased steadily: It is now the single largest contributor of foreign direct investment in Africa.

This has brought Beijing criticism from some quarters, with accusations from the West that African countries are in danger of being in thrall to Chinese debt.

However, such alarmist sentiments stem from African countries now looking firmly eastwards to China for their development inspiration and support rather than to the West for aid as they did in the past.

As Senegalese President Macky Sall told Xi on Saturday, China's development is a "message of hope" for the continent.

By advancing the Belt and Road Initiative in Africa, China and African countries are carrying forward their traditional friendship and creating a solid foundation for their growing reciprocal cooperation that will inject fresh vitality into the African continent's dynamism.

This will no doubt be further demonstrated and reinforced at the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation that is due to be held in Beijing in September. Coming as it does the back of Xi's trip, the forum provides a good opportunity for the two sides to further strengthen their ties and chart the future course of relations.

In an article published in the Senegalese newspaper Le Soleil ahead of his visit, Xi said "the summit will break new grounds for China-Africa cooperation" by bringing together the Belt and Road Initiative, the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, Agenda 2063 of the African Union and the national development plans of African countries.

With the alignment of these, China and African countries will be able to strengthen their cooperation and contribute even more to their common development and a shared future.