Beijing, Europe shouldn’t engage in ‘big power’ game in relations with African countries

By Hu Weijia Source:Global Times Published: 2018/8/30 22:53:41

British Prime Minister Theresa May's trip to Africa has generated vigorous debate, as she said the UK intends to be the continent's largest foreign investor within four years.

Some countries have recently been giving greater importance to their relationships with Africa, putting the emerging continent under the in-ternational spotlight.

This is essentially the first time that Africa has played a central role in diplomatic affairs since African countries declared independence from their European colonizers. Some factors, such as China's growing presence in the continent, have given a new dimension to relationships between European countries and Africa.

China is a latecomer among big powers - including the UK - in terms of developing economic ties with Africa, but Beijing is Africa's largest trading partner. Chinese investment has become an engine of growth that is strengthening Africa's economy through revitalization. However, there are challenges ahead, as debt steadily climbs in some African countries.

The upcoming Beijing Summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) will be a chance to further strengthen cooperation between China and Africa. China's growing economic presence in Africa has become a controversial topic in European countries, which is fueling the relationship between Europe and Africa.

China is pleased to see European countries engage themselves more in economic development in Africa.

There are many potential cooperation opportunities for China and Europe in Africa, which will help African countries overcome contemporary challenges such as debt problems.

Africa is a key area along the Belt and Road (B&R) initiative's routes. European companies are welcome to join projects under the B&R framework, which is an open initiative that welcomes everyone to join on the principles of equality and voluntary participation.

It doesn't matter if European countries decline to work with China in Africa affairs and instead enhance relations with Africa through bilateral channels. But we don't want cooperation with Africa by China on the one hand and Europe on the other to evolve into a "big power" game. China and Europe can learn from each other in African affairs and enhance mutual understanding.

The author is a reporter with the Global Times. bizopinion@globaltimes.com.cn



Posted in: EYE ON ECONOMY

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