Commentary: China, West can be partners, not rivals in Africa's development
English.gov.cn | 2014-May-7 14:38 | Editor: Lu Hui

Africa, the last continent on Earth that suffers pervasive poverty while is widely labelled as a land of vim and vigor, has been busy lately greeting high-ranking officials from Western developed nations and Asian economic powerhouses.

It's noteworthy that the ongoing four-nation tour of Chinese Premier Li Keqiang has practically overlapped those of U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida.

Coincidentally, Ethiopia and Angola, two legs of Li's Africa tour, have also been part of Kerry's itinerary.

That coincidence may lead to a rash assumption that the world's economic heavyweights are engaged in a fierce race to grab their share of the most promising continent.

Biased people in the West tend to see China, a late comer to Africa, as a rising contender and smear it as the new colonist that snatches natural resources to fit its own development agenda as Western powers did centuries ago.

Such misgivings only attest to the West's poor knowledge about the real story of the China-Africa cooperation.

The unremitting and ever-robust China-Africa partnership comes from shared inspiration for common development and improvement of people's livelihood.

That effort, as defined by Li and African leaders in a joint statement on Monday, welcomes diversification of Africa's cooperative partners, or "a third party" in Africa "on the basis of its need, consent and participation."

Such cooperation's openness and inclusiveness are also proved by increasing joint ventures on the continent financed by China and other countries, which is distinct from the old Western version featuring snatching the spear of influences and stopping the outsiders from coming in.

Furthermore, politicizing China's normal business cooperation with Africa is doomed, as enhancing people's livelihood is pursued by two sides, whose economies are highly complementary and impossible to be alienated.

The strategic partnership of China and Africa, with an eye to benefit both their own peoples and the globe at large, will thus enjoy more tenacity and longer duration.

Promoting economic ties with Africa is by no means a zero-sum game for China and the West. The vast continent, full of commercial potentials and business opportunities, is large enough to accommodate competent companies from all countries on an equal footing.