China’s charm offensive: FM visits four African nations to boost ties

As the West steps up its diplomatic ventures into Africa, Beijing has renewed its commitment to the continent, with debt relief and reconstruction pledges for Ethiopia and calls on new administrations in Kenya and Nigeria.

As part of China’s top diplomat Wang Yi’s four-nation African tour, he has recently made a surprise stop in Addis Ababa, pledging ‘to play a positive role in easing Ethiopia’s debt pressure’. In Addis Ababa, Wang met with Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed and said China supported Ethiopia’s domestic reconstruction and economic recovery after the deadly Tigray war. Ethiopia has an estimated US$13.7 billion in debt to China, much of it advanced by China Exim Bank between 2000 and 2021.

Abiy said he appreciated China’s strong support whenever Ethiopia faced difficulties and “regards China as a reliable and great friend,” actively taking part in the Belt and Road Initiative, according to Chinese sources.

From Ethiopia, Wang flew to Nairobi, where the new administration of William Ruto has intensified engagement with the United States and the European Union in recent months.

During the presidential campaign last year, Chinese lending became a major political issue, with Ruto blaming the loans for Kenya’s debt troubles. But in a meeting with Wang on Saturday, Ruto said Kenya was keen to strengthen its relations with China to spur economic growth. Earlier this week (24-25 July), Wang attended the BRICS high representatives’ meeting on security affairs ahead of the summit next month. Wang was also expected to visit Nigeria, the most populous country and largest economy in Africa and where Beijing has pumped billions of dollars into ports and railways.

About Khalid Al Mouahidi 4420 Articles
Khalid Al Mouahidi : A binational from the US and Morocco, Khalid El Mouahidi has worked for several american companies in the Maghreb Region and is currently based in Casablanca, where he is doing consulting jobs for major international companies . Khalid writes analytical pieces about economic ties between the Maghreb and the Mena Region, where he has an extensive network