Mahboob Ar Rahman
China is a fastest growing economy in the world. At the same time, it is one of those nations, which is whole-heartedly confronting radical Islam and militant Islam.
Ever since China had emerged into an economic lion, it has started helping the under developed and developing nations in the Asian and African continents with the honest intention of letting people in other countries also enjoy the fruits of China’s excellent economic policies. It has been providing soft loan and technological assistance to a number of African nations for decades. China commonly funds the construction of infrastructure such as roads and railroads, dams, ports, and airports. While relations are mainly conducted through diplomacy and trade, military support via the provision of arms and other equipment is also a major component.
China surpassed the US in 2009 to become the largest trading partner of Africa. Bilateral trade agreements have been signed between China and 40 countries of the continent. In 2000, China Africa Trade amounted to $10 billion and by 2014 – it had grown to $220 billion. China began to pursue market socialism, popularly known as One Country Two System in the 1970s under the leadership of Deng Xiaoping. This marked the change to capitalist practices as the foundation of the PRC’s socioeconomic development; a process initiated several decades earlier following the aftermath of the Great Leap Forward. Beginning in 1980, the PRC initiated a policy of rapid modernization and industrialization, resulting in reduced poverty and developing the base of a powerful industrial economy. As of 2018, the PRC had the second largest nominal GDP in the world, at $13.457 trillion, and the largest GDP by purchasing power parity at $23.12 trillion.
Africa has a population of roughly 1.018 billion and a surface of 30,221,532 square kilometer. Industrialization started marginally in the early 20th century in the colonies of the European nations, namely Portugal, Belgium, Spain, the Netherlands, Germany, France, Italy, and the United Kingdom. The continent’s various wars for independence brought on the violent and disruptive division of Africa. Africa, being a major source of raw materials, saw the colonial powers vie for influence among the newly independent nations, with former colonial powers establishing special relations with their former colonies, often by offering economic aid and alliances for access to the vast resources of their former territories.
Today, the presence of diamonds, gold, silver, uranium, cobalt and large oil reserves have brought Africa to the forefront of industrial development, with many of the world’s economic powers building relations with Africa’s resource rich nations.
As of 2008, the entire GDP of Africa is about $1.2 trillion.
Both China and Africa proclaim a new, mutually beneficial economic, political, and regional alliance. China sees a source for raw materials and energy, desperately needed to support its feverish industrial and economic growth. Success in this quest means high employment and a higher quality of life for Chinese citizens, as well as increasing social stability and political security for Chinese elites.
Chinese oil companies are gaining the invaluable experience of working in African nations which will prepare them for larger projects on the far more competitive world market. The efficiency of Chinese assistance, loans, and proposals generally been praised. Finally, Chinese industry has found in Africa a budding market for its low-cost manufactured goods.
Chinese diaspora in Africa have been actively supported by Chinese embassies, continuously building the ‘Blood Brother’ relation between China and Africa as perceived victims of Western imperialism.
African leaders earn legitimacy through Chinese partnerships. They work together with the Chinese to provide Africa with key structural infrastructure – roads, railways, ports, hydroelectric dams, and refineries—fundamentals which will help Africa avoid the “resource curse”. Success in this endeavor means avoiding the exploitation of their natural wealth and the beginning of fundamental social and economic transformations on the continent.
African countries partnering with China today are signing with a future world superpower. In Africa, this Chinese alliance provides strong psychological consequences. It provides economic hope and shows African elites an example of success which they may take as exemplars of their own future. Writer Harry Broadman commented that if Chinese investments in key sectors of infrastructure, telecommunication, manufacturing, foods, and textiles radically alter the African continent, the main change will have taken place in African minds. With the recent growth and economic improvement, more Africans students are returning to Africa after studies abroad in order to bring their skills and industry home.
In 1995, Jiang Zemin pushed the pace of economic growth even faster. Under his leadership, China pursued broad reforms with confidence. Zemin declared to Chinese entrepreneurs, “Go out” (走出去 Zǒu chūqū), encouraging businessmen to conquer world markets. In the late 1990s, Chinese bids were heavily supported by the government and local embassies, with government-owned Exim Bank of China providing needed finances at low rates. The advantages provided by the PRC allowed Chinese enterprises to win many bids on the world market.
China’s rise in the world market led the Chinese diaspora in Africa to make contact with relatives in their homeland. Renewed relations created a portal through which African demand for low-price consumers goods could flow. Chinese businessmen in Africa, with contacts in China, brought in skilled industrial engineers and technicians such as mechanics, electricians, carpenters, to build African industry from the ground up.
The 1995 official Go Global declaration and the 2001 Chinese entry into the WTO paved the way for private citizens in China to increasingly connect with, import from, and export to the budding Sino-African markets.
Sino-Pakistan economic cooperation:
For decades, relations between China and Pakistan have been very warm. Although China is wholeheartedly combating radical Islam and militant Islam, it did not hesitate in extending its hands of cooperation to Pakistan, a country known as breeding ground of radical Islamic militancy and religious bigotry. Most of the analysts in the world see Pakistan as a rogue nation. But, most definitely China is ignoring this side and has decided to help Pakistan in attaining economic prosperity. According to Indian newspaper the Economic Times, China is building a city for 500,000 Chinese nationals in Pakistan at a cost of few billion dollars in Gwadar as a part of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). The project is aimed to be completed by 2022. It will help China to house its workforce for the financial district that it is planning to set up in the port city of Gwadar. As per reports, this will be the first such Chinese city in South Asia.
Moreover, about 20 CPEC projects worth over $27 billion are under the process of implementation across Pakistan.
China already has such exclusive zones in Africa and Central Asia. Newspaper reports say, China is going to establish huge economic zones in Myanmar’s Arakan Province while in the near future; similar projects may also be established in the eastern Russia.
China not only would build the exclusive zone in Pakistan and Myanmar for boosting economic cooperation and helping the host country in attaining huge economic progress, it also will effectively contribute in protecting the sovereignty and ensuring security of the host nations. Such projects are being implemented under Chinese leader Xi Jinping’s One Belt One Road (OBOR) policy.
China’s presence in the respective countries are welcomed by the people as they know – in today’s world, China’s economic cooperation means a sure success in attaining economic progress.
But, foreign policy experts say, China is not extending such cooperation only for the economic interest. It has also the interest of expanding Beijing’s influence in the respective countries and regions.
China has always been extremely sincere and trusted to its friend and allies. Most importantly, in Chinese policy towards its allies, there is no hypocrisy or double-standard.
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