‘China-Africa ties have benefited both’

As foreign guests begin their visit to Beijing for an Africa-China mega conference on Monday, Chinese officials and state-media have gone into overdrive to showcase that ties between Africa and Beijing have benefited both.

At the heart of the Chinese counteroffensive against allegations of “predatory” behaviour in Africa, is a myth-breaking report of the American consulting firm McKinsey.

McKinsey report

Titled, “Dance of the lions and dragons: How are Africa and China engaging, and how will the partnership evolve?”— it demolishes the fable about China’s resource driven “neocolonial” practices. Chinese officials cited McKinsey’s findings ahead of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC), during which 54 leaders and high-level representatives from Africa will conduct a three-day dialogue with their Chinese counterparts from September 3.

Replying to a largely laudatory August 30 article that appeared on CNN on China’s investments in Africa, Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying on Friday cited last year’s McKinsey report, which said that 89% of the workforce employed by Chinese companies was African. “Nearly two-thirds of Chinese companies have provided skills training, while half offered apprenticeships, and a third had introduced a new technology for the local community,” she observed.

3,00,000 jobs

The study that covered eight African countries says that Chinese firms created nearly 3,00,000 African jobs, suggesting that “Chinese owned business employ several million Africans”.

Officials also rejected the perception that Chinese banks are pushing their African recipients into a “debt trap”. Many pointed to an April report in The Washington Post that says that Chinese loans were providing a useful service in Africa.