African people have the final say: Chinese ambassador

BY Everson Mushava

Chinese ambassador to Zimbabwe Guo Shaochun has challenged countries describing the Asian giant’s relationship with Africa as exploitative to leave Africans to judge for themselves.

Shaochun said the relationship between China and Africa was mutually beneficial and no other country that does not invest in Africa should expect to benefit from the resources of the continent.

“In fact, only African people have the final say over whether China-Africa co-operation is good or bad,” he said in a statement yesterday.

“While some countries keep on claiming that they worried about Africa’s debt problem, yet they are not willing to provide financial resources or make
investment in Africa, or worse still, they impose sanctions on African countries, holding back the economy and making ordinary people suffer.”

Western countries, particularly the United States of America, competing for Africa’s natural resources, have been critical of China’s relationship with Africa,
describing it as exploitative. They accuse China of advancing an imperialist approach on Africa, looting natural resources and crafting investment agreements
that impoverishes the African continent.

“Some countries also accuse China of looting African resources as ‘neo-colonists’. China does buy natural resources from Africa but this trade pattern exists
between Africa and its other major trading partners, too,” Shaochun said:

He added: “China and Africa trade according to market rules and on a willing buyer willing seller basis. Moreover, China is now doing more to add value to the natural resources of Africa by setting up processing plants in Africa. In Chad, China helped build refinery and enabled it to achieve energy security. While in
Nigeria, where the crude oil resources are almost all monopolised by western countries, Nigeria is still a heavy importer of petrol today. Who is looter and
who is helper? I think it is not difficult to tell.”

Shaochum said China was always there to help Zimbabwe and its people.

“While we are focusing on the co-operation in the infrastructure area like airport and power station expansion to support Zimbabwe’s social and economic
development, we have been investing huge funds to increase humanitarian assistance to Zimbabwe,” he said.

“We always appreciate the adherence to the ‘One-China’ principle by Zimbabwe and Zimbabwe always cherishes the valuable support China gave it when China vetoed
the proposed UN Security Council resolution to impose sanctions on Zimbabwe, which has been the first and so far the only time China exercised veto power in
the Security Council for an African country.”

The Chinese envoy added: “Several days ago, when I met with Foreign minister Sibusiso Moyo, he told me that some countries complained to him why give all those
infrastructure projects to China? Minister Moyo replied that because China is the only country that is available to us. That answer is simple, vocal and true.
Those countries that do nothing to help Zimbabwe but do everything to harm Zimbabwe have no right to finger point China-Zimbabwe relation.

He said China will continue to enhance China-Africa and China-Zimbabwe co-operation in agriculture, infrastructure, mining, education as well as cultural and
people-to-people exchanges to take our relations to a higher level.

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