China is keenly following it but doesn’t seem to be overly worried about India’s ongoing mega-summit with African countries in New Delhi.
The summit involving officials from all 54 African countries aims at boosting trade with India and is also pushing the agenda for UN reforms following which Africa and India will have greater say in world affairs.
Chinese experts say contrary to what the “western media” is saying – that the summit is India’s effort to counter China in Africa – the summit will strengthen “south-south” cooperation.
It will help Africa’s development, they said.
“The African market is huge, and there is no competition or contradictions between China and India in their roles in Africa,” Fu Xiaoqiang with China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations told the state-controlled Global Times newspaper.
He Wenping, an expert in African studies with the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said China is open to other countries’ cooperating with Africa.
“India is also a developing country and a member of the BRICS bloc, its better. Of course, China also knows that it is way ahead of India in terms of investments and possibly influence across the vast continent of Africa.”
According to Chinese government statistics quoted in the state media, by 2014, trade between China and Africa exceeded 220 billion US dollars and China’s investment stock in Africa surpassed 30 billion dollars, an increase of 22 and 60 times respectively since 2000 when Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) was established.
The share of China-Africa trade in Africa’s total foreign trade has increased from 3.82% to 20.5%, the statistics revealed.
For decades, Beijing has been pumping in money into weak African economies, helping them building infrastructure and extracting, in return, raw material like minerals.
Beijing has built roads, railways, telecommunication infrastructure and even sporting stadiums around the continent in its effort to cement its position.
It is also known to have showered African students with scholarships in top Chinese universities.
In fact, China’s role in Africa’s development will be in focus during the forthcoming FOCAC summit to be held in South Africa in December.