Handful African presidents not attending 2018 FOCAC summit in China

Government officials bid farewell to President Uhuru Kenyatta at JKIA as he departs for Beijing on Friday

Government officials bid farewell to President Uhuru Kenyatta at JKIA as he departs for Beijing on Friday

For two days in a row, every headline on the front page of the state-run People's Daily started with the words "Xi Jinping..." as the president met with the leaders of countries from Angola and Gabon to Mauritius and Senegal. "Resources for our cooperation are not to be spent on any vanity projects but in places where they count the most", he said.

ZIMBABWE is working closely with China to support local exporting companies as part of measures to boost its foreign currency earnings, which will in turn stabilise the economy, Foreign Affairs and International Trade Minister Dr Sibusiso Busi Moyo has said.

This year's summit seeks to build a stronger community with a shared future between China and Africa which will yield important outcomes including the connection of the Belt and Road Initiative with Agenda 2063 of the African Union and the United Nations 2030 Agenda on sustainable development.

Before the formal opening of the summit, Buhari in his capacity as the ECOWAS chairman will deliver remarks at a meeting between Chinese and African leaders, business representatives and African entrepreneurs.

African leaders in attendance include South Africa's Cyril Ramaphosa, Egypt's Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, Zambia's Edgar Lungu and Gabon's Ali Bongo.

Africa is growing in strategic importance for China, with the People's Liberation Army opening its first overseas naval base in Djibouti past year.

China has become a major investment partner for South Africa in stimulating economic and social transformation and development.

China will also expand its imports from Africa, especially for non-resources products, and will facilitate African financial institutions' bond issuances in China, Xi added.

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The relationship between China and Africa is based on more than just trade: it is a partnership aligned to Africa's development goals, as contained in the AU's Agenda 2063 and the New Partnership for Africa's Development. "We hope the ICC can prudently handle the relevant issue", Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying told reporters.

China is all set to showcase its growing influence in Africa at the next Monday's China-Africa summit to be attended by a number of African leaders where President Xi Jinping is expected to announce new projects under the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).

"We believe African people, instead of Western observers, know best what is most needed by the continent", the paper, which often reflects official thinking, said.

Apart from military aid to the African Union, Beijing will support countries in the Sahel region and others bordering the piracy-ridden Gulf of Aden and Gulf of Guinea.

"The reality is that Chinese debt as a percentage of total African debt is still relatively small", said Kenny Fihla, Standard Bank's chief executive for corporate banking.

This year marks the fifth anniversary of the China-proposed Belt and Road Initiative, with more African countries expressing their interest in joining the grand project.

Addressing trade imbalances between China and Africa, Ramaphosa dismissed views that the partnership amounted to a new form of colonialism.

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