To mark the 70 years of freedom, President Xi Jinping clearly stated: “No force can shake the status of our great motherland, no force can obstruct the advance of the Chinese people and Chinese nation.”
What does China’s 70th anniversary mean for Africa? President Xi Jinping has made four visits to Africa, in addition to many more that he took before acceding to the presidency. The frequency of his visits underscores the importance that he attaches to this continent. He has not forgotten the common bonds that bind China and Africa and he emphasised this appropriately at the Focac Conference (Forum on China-Africa Co-operation) in September last year when he asserted: “With similar fate in the past and a common mission, China and Africa have extended sympathy to and helped each other throughout all the years. Together, we have embarked on a distinctive path of win-win co-operation.”
At the same conference, China once again demonstrated its commitment to Africa by pledging $60 billion (R919bn) to Africa in the form of assistance, investments and loans.
The Belt and Road Initiative, which was proposed in 2013 by President Xi, is a far-reaching project, straddling the globe and inviting more than 60% of the global population. This infrastructure project will not only be a material web connecting so many regions and people; it will also be an ideal construction, fostering the exchange of culture, enhancing economic growth and promoting connectivity that will also encourage environment friendly innovations. The Belt and Road Initiative has noticeable facets that are in tandem with the AU’s Agenda 2063, especially in terms of improving intra-continental trade and intra-continental people-to-people exchange.