Group Tasks Africa to Focus on Trade with China

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By Ugo Aliogo

The Initiative for Public Policy Analysis (IPPA) has charged African leaders to rethink their engagement strategies with China in order to make the present relationship mutually beneficial and actually win-win cooperation as they begin the 2018 Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) summit today in Beijing, China.

The group, who stated this yesterday in a statement signed by the Senior Research Fellow, IPPA, Thompson Ayodele, noted that the key economic considerations that had shaped China-Africa relations are mainly loans, development assistance and debt cancellations, and trade.

The statement also added that the summit would be used by China to offer new rounds of billions of dollars in loans and aid to African countries amidst rising debts.

Ayodele in the statement said African countries such as Angola and Djibouti which are recipients of China’s foreign loans and aid are already mired in debt, adding that these countries are either restructuring their debts or negotiating another round of loans.

He added that some African countries are seeking funding from the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) because of their inability to pay back the Chinese.

 “Loans and aid dependency from China will make growth elusive and alter the bottom up economic growth strategy in Africa.  Instead, Africa should seek an increase in trade level comparable to China’s trade partners in Asia whose trade volume is five times higher than trade with Africa. The Free Trade Agreement (FTA) signed between China and its Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) trade partners in 2002 has contributed to the increase in the volume of trade between China and its ASEAN partners. However, Africa is left out of China’s FTAs foray.

“The central criteria of China’s FTAs include, achieving “One China” policy; recognition of China as a market economy; achieving access to raw materials; and maintaining and strengthening its political and diplomatic relations. Many African countries such as Kenya, Nigeria, Sudan, and South Africa, to mention a few, meet these criteria with which China signs FTAs.”