Wen Jiabao’s Africa tour

China Monitor - Issue 9 - Jul 2006July 2006 – Issue 9

Last year was declared by Prime Minister Tony Blair as the Year of Africa. He was mistaken. Rather than last year, 2006 is the year of Africa and it is being driven by China.

This year marks a historic year for China-Africa relations. In January, the Chinese Government published its White Paper of its foreign policy toward the African continent. In April, President Hu Jintao visited Morocco, Nigeria and Kenya. In June, Premier Wen Jiabao visited seven African countries – Egypt, Ghana, Congo, Tanzania, Uganda, Angola and South Africa. In November, the Forum on China-Africa Conference (FOCAC) will be held with 47 African Heads of State invited to participate.

Africa has become a foreign policy priority for China. At a recent conference organised by the Institute for Public Policy Research in London, Professor Xu Weizhong of the China Institute of Contemporary International Relations asserted that whilst Europe regards Africa as a burden, China views Africa as an opportunity.

Africa’s relations with the G8 economies have not delivered substantive economic benefit. In response to the political interest and commercial commitment from the Asian economies of China and increasingly India, Africa’s relations are starting to shift away from the North toward the East.

China’s Year of Africa in 2006 will undoubtedly drive this strategic shift in the continent’s political and economic relations.

Download PDF – China Monitor – Issue 9 – Jul 2006