News / Africa

China Says Premier's Africa Visit About More Than Just Oil Deals

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang claps as he attends the opening ceremony of the Boao Forum for Asia (BFA) Annual Conference 2014 in Boao, Hainan province, April 10, 2014.
Chinese Premier Li Keqiang claps as he attends the opening ceremony of the Boao Forum for Asia (BFA) Annual Conference 2014 in Boao, Hainan province, April 10, 2014.
Reuters
Chinese Premier Li Keqiang is to visit four African countries, including oil-rich Angola and Nigeria, but will not be going simply for energy deals as China increasingly aims to boost African living standards, officials said on Wednesday.
 
Trips by Chinese leaders to Africa are often marked by big natural resource deals, triggering criticism from some that China is only interested in the continent's mineral and energy wealth.
 
Africans broadly see China as a healthy counterbalance to Western influence but, as ties mature, there are growing calls from policymakers and economists for more balanced trade relations.
 
China is also keen not to be perceived as an imperial master.
 
Li's May 4-11 trip will also take in Ethiopia and Kenya and Assistant Minister of Commerce Zhang Xiangchen told reporters there would be more than just oil agreements.
 
“During Premier Li Keqiang's visit to the four African countries, all the relevant countries will sign some cooperation agreements between financial organizations and between companies, which are quite large in scope, not just on oil and natural resources,” Zhang said.
 
“There are also many on agriculture, manufacturing, people's livelihood and basic infrastructure,” he added, declining to provide details or financial figures.
 
Angola is China's second-largest source of crude oil after Saudi Arabia.
 
Li's delegation will sign agreements in the four countries which “will provide a solid foundation for future China-Africa trade and economic development”, Zhang said. He declined to say which company executives would accompany Li.
 
'Friendly, cooperative'
 
It will be Li's first visit to Africa since he became premier last year, and follows on from a trip to the continent by President Xi Jinping in March 2013, when he renewed an offer of $20 billion in loans to Africa between 2013 and 2015.
 
Neither Zhang, nor Vice Foreign Minister Zhang Ming who was at the same news conference, would say if any new loans were in the offing.
 
“Aid to Africa is just one part of China and Africa's friendly cooperative relationship. It includes politics, trade and the economy, culture, society, peace and security,” Zhang Ming said, areas Li would discuss on his trip.
 
China has a relationship with Africa which pre-dates its current resource-hungry economic boom. In previous decades,  China's Communist leaders supported national liberation movements and newly independent states across the continent.
 
Li's visit comes virtually on the 50th anniversary of then-Premier Zhou Enlai's landmark trip to 10 African nations from December 1963 to January 1964.
 
Yet gratitude for China's aid is increasingly tinged with resentment about the way Chinese companies operate in Africa. Industrial complexes staffed exclusively by Chinese workers have occasionally provoked riots by Africans looking for work.
 
Zhang Xiangchen said China's aid for Africa was given in a “brotherly” way between friends and the way China tried to help would be changing.
 
“Our aid in the future will go even more to agriculture, health and sanitation, environmental protection, education and culture, our development cooperation will incline towards people's livelihoods, to help African countries improve livelihoods,” he said.
 
“Li Keqiang's visit will focus on these areas.”

You May Like

Lesotho Faces New Round of Violence, Political Crisis

Brutal killing of military officer has sent former leaders back into S. Africa where they're watching anxiously as regional officials head in to try to restore peace More

Video US Diplomat Expects Adoption of Srebrenica Anniversary Resolution

Samantha Power says there's broad consensus about killings in Bosnia's war, but Russia calls resolution 'divisive,' backs countermeasure at UN More

UN Report Exposes Widespread Boko Haram Atrocities

Damning report graphically details pattern of vicious, widespread atrocities committed by Islamist militants More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prisoni
X
Heather Murdock
July 01, 2015 8:59 PM
As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Obama on Cuba: This is What Change Looks Like

President Barack Obama says the United States will soon reopen its embassy in Cuba for the first time since 1961, ending a half-century of isolation. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video US Silica Sand Mining Surge Worries Illinois Residents, Businesses

Increased domestic U.S. oil and gas production, thanks to advances known as “fracking,” has created a boom for other industries supporting that extraction. Demand for silica sand, used in fracking, could triple over the next five years. In the Midwest state of Illinois, people living near the mines are worried about how increased silica sand mining will affect their businesses and their health. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh has more in this first of a series of reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Texas Defies Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

Texas state officials have criticized the US Supreme Court decision giving same-sex couples the right to marry nationwide. The attorney general of Texas says last week's decision did not overrule constitutional "rights of religious liberty," and therefore officials performing wedding services can refuse to perform them for same-sex couples if it is against their religious beliefs. Zlatica Hoke reports on the controversy.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.
Video

Video Saudi Leaks Expose ‘Checkbook Diplomacy’ In Battle With Iran

Saudi Arabia’s willingness to wield its oil money on the global diplomatic stage appears to have been laid bare, after the website WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of leaked cables from Riyadh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Nubians in Kenya Face Land Challenges

East Africa's ethnic Nubians have a rich cultural history that dates back thousands of years, but in Kenya they are facing hardships, including the loss of lands they have lived on for generations. They say the government has reneged on its pledge to award them title deeds for the plots. VOA's Lenny Ruvaga reports.
Video

Video Military Experts Question New Russian Tank Capabilities

Russia has been showing off its new tank design – the Armata T-14. Designers claim it is 20 years ahead of current Western designs - and driving it feels like playing a computer game. But military analysts question those assertions, and warn the cost could be too heavy a burden for Russia’s struggling economy. Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video In Kenya, Police Said to Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

An organization that documents torture and extrajudicial killings says Kenyan police were responsible for 1,252 shooting deaths in five cities, including Nairobi, between 2009 and 2014, representing 67 percent of all gun deaths in the areas reviewed. Gabe Joselow has more from Nairobi.

VOA Blogs