South African President Cyril Ramaphosa used his address at the opening ceremony of the Forum on China–Africa Cooperation (Focac) in Beijing on Monday to rebut claims that China was becoming Africa’s new colonial power.
“In the values that it promotes, in the manner that it operates, and in the impact that it has on African countries, Focac refutes the view that a new colonialism is taking hold in Africa, as our detractors would have us believe,” a written version of Ramaphosa’s speech said.
Ramaphosa said Focac was introduced on the African people’s right to determine their own future.
“It is premised on the African Union’s Agenda 2063, a vision that has been crafted in Africa, by Africans. It is a vision of an integrated, prosperous and peaceful Africa, driven by its own citizens and representing a dynamic force in the international arena.
“It is a vision of a continent where commerce, trade, investment, skills and knowledge move freely across the borders that were imposed on us by our colonial rulers,” he said.
Through Focac, Africa was looking at China as a partner to achieve the goals set out in Agenda 2063.
Ramaphosa said Africa embraced China’s “Betl and Road Initiative”, an ambitious plan by China to boost trade and stimulate economic growth across Asia and beyond.
“We are confident that this initiative, which effectively complements the work of Focac, will reduce the costs and increase the volume of trade between Africa and China,” he said.
“It will encourage the development of Africa’s infrastructure, a critical requirement for meaningful regional and continental integration.”
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