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Gyude Moore Reflects on China’s New White Paper and Weighs How African Stakeholders Should Respond

The release of the White Paper on Friday provoked a lively discussion online among scholars and analysts. W. Gyude Moore, a senior policy fellow at the Center for Global Development in Washington, D.C., and a prominent Africa-China observer weighed in with a lengthy, nine-part Twitter thread:

Even in the face of declining Chinese financing, China seeks to assure its African partners: “It will continue to expand cooperation in investment and financing with Africa and strengthen mutually beneficial cooperation in agricultural and manufacturing sectors.”
This will be tested in what is announced in a few days at FOCAC. $60 billion has been the highest announced figure. Will that number increase, decline or remain constant? Will the focus shift significantly to investment and away from debt-financed infrastructure?

Lack of access to vaccines, repeated failure to honor climate financing agreements have frayed the fabric of global trust. It is not by coincidence that China includes “good faith” as a principle of engagement with Africa.

Flexing: “By the end of 2020, direct investment of Chinese companies in Africa had surpassed $43 billion. China has established over 3,500 companies of various types across the continent. Private companies have gradually become the main investment force in Africa. This is very likely meant also counter the idea that China imports workers: “More than 80% of their employees are locals, and they have directly and indirectly created millions of jobs.”

Hopefully, the African Union responds to this White Paper linking Africa-China cooperation with Agenda 2063. China here commits to assisting Africa’s green transition and that is welcome news, but African countries ought to seek a firm commitment to a just transition.

As Western financing dries up for natural gas, China ought to step up to help fill the gap to balance Africa’s energy mix. African industrialization should be the basis of all partnerships – including the one with China.

Securing Africa’s energy future is a key pillar.

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