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Chinese President Xi Jinping Visits Africa to Bolster Trade Links

XI Jinping
Xi Jinping

China’s President Xi Jinping has arrived in Tanzania for his African tour that seeks to strengthen business partnerships with the continent, according to a Reuters article.

From Tanzania’s business capital Dar es Salaam, Xi will continue on to South Africa to discuss the establishment of a joint foreign exchange reserves pool and an infrastructure bank with BRICS leaders on Tuesday and Wednesday, George Obulutsa and Fumbuka Ng’wanakilala write.

James Shikwati, director of the Inter Regional Economic Network think tank in Nairobi, told Reuters that Xi’s visit would mitigate Africa’s anxieties that China is exacting high prices on imports to the continent while it exploits the region’s resources.

Reuters said Xi’s African tour highlights the continent’s importance to China’s high demand for resources, as well as Africa’s need for cheap products from China.

But businessman Hamisi Mwalimu raised concerns that China gains a “much better deal” than Africa by dumping counterfeit products to its local markets while dismantling the region of its natural resources, Reuters reported.

“We need a smart partnership where both Tanzania and China benefit,” Mwalimu said.

Moreover, rights groups and some Western governments accuse China with shady human rights records in supporting Africa as it tries to access its resources.

Their claims often point to China’s ties with Sudanese President Omar Hassan al-Bashir who is dealing with crimes charges.

The European Union has called for reforms and the transparency in how China does business with Africa, according to the news agency.

But China retorted, saying the West sees Africa as a colony.

Reuters quoted Zhong Jianhua, China’s special envoy to Africa, saying his country treats people in Africa ‘as equals.”

China faces scrutiny for employing nearly one million Chinese workers on its infrastructure and mining projects in Africa, which Zhong admitted.

But Zhong told Reuters that his government had told Chinese firms not to use workers only from China.

“I think most Chinese firms now realize this,” he said.

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