FOCAC 2018 Summit: China Denies Interference, Pledges Support For Africa

The 2018 FOCAC summit which was held in Beijing was an opportunity for China to reinstate it commitment to the growth and development of Africa. President Xi Jinping opened the summit by reinstating the non-interference of China in the governance of Africa by emphasizing a “five no” approach to China’s African policy, namely: no interference in the development paths of individual countries; no interference with internal affairs; no imposition of China’s will; no attachment of political strings regarding assistance; and no seeking of selfish political gains in investment and financing cooperation.

He further asserted China’s determination to help foster Africa’s development through two initiatives. The first is the commitment to enhance trade with Africa, given that China is the biggest trading partner with Africa. Xi highlighted China’s determination to support non-mineral export, which as of 2017 was about 5% of Africa’s export to China, with mineral and fuels export accounting for 95%. This is a bid toward supporting Africa’s export diversification so as ensure the structures of Africa’s export become more resilient. The second initiative is reducing massive skill gaps in Africa through ten Luban workshops, to build manpower skills in Africa to meet industry demands.

In terms of aid to Africa, China’s aid commitment remained constant with US$60 billion over three years. 25% of this commitment will take the form of grants, interest-free loans, and concessional loans, this will make China the third-largest donor to Africa, after the United States and European Union. Agriculture modernization was another area in which China pledged to support Africa, in a bid to boost sesame crops in Africa. Similarly, the green initiative was announced to ensure the sustainability of Africa, however, it has been argued that China was silent on deforestation given that forestry products are the second biggest Africa export to China after natural resources.

President Xi with African leaders at the 2018 FOCAC summit. Source: Odi

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