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China Researcher: How Did China Beat the Western Countries in African Investment?

Guancha (The Observer) website is a media in China with a focus on international affairs. It published an interview with Ms. He Wenping, a researcher at the Institute of West Asia and Africa, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS), on the differences between China and the Western countries in their investments in Africa.

Ms. He said Africa has three shortcomings: poor infrastructure, lack of skilled people, and lack of money. China’s investments are focusing on these things, such as infrastructure projects and training local people. This includes the Luban Workshop – a number of vocational education classes – and industrial parks at local sites.

Regarding the Western countries’ saying that China is creating a “debt trap” in Africa, Ms. He said it was because they control the discourse power. China is making improvements with CGTN (a state-run English-language news channel based in Beijing) to have its own voice heard. CGTN’s programs are on YouTube and Tweeter and follow the international reporting standard. CGTN’s London station, U.S. station, and Africa station have local people as hosts and reporters. For example, the Africa station at Nairobi, Kenya’s capital city, has an “Africa Live” program with an African anchor and African reporters who go to hot spots to interview people every day. Thus some African scholars are following it every day.

Regarding differences between the West’s and China’s investment in Africa , Ms. He said that the West is telling the African countries what to do while China just treats them as partners. The West’s investments have strings attached but China’s do not. Biden held his U.S.-Africa summit in Washington, DC, while China always has its summit in Africa.

Source: Guancha, January 16, 2023