NAIROBI, Kenya, Jul 19 – China may soon overtake Western Countries in investment-relationship with the African continent.
Supporting China’s $20 billion (Sh1.6trillion) pledge to Africa on Thursday, Kenyan Industrialist and businessman Dr Chris Kirubi said China is slowly increasing its economic relationship with Africa by avoiding engaging in the continent’s politics.
In an interview with British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), Kirubi argued that people in Africa are yearning for development to improve their economic activities, and not just being criticised on how to manage their leadership.
“This is a wake-up call to the West, so that they are not completely made irrelevant in development in Africa in future,” commented Kirubi.
He criticized the notion that there is negative competition between the Western Countries and China, adding that African countries have the freedom to choose their trading partners.
“It’s not a game. People in Africa are yearning for development, good health, development in agriculture, better schools, better roads and so many other things. Honestly we are looking for friends who do not just lecture us, “he said.
He said most of the African countries are putting in place measures to deal with corruption cases, something that has remained a challenge for many states in the continent.
“We must manage our politics; we go for elections every year, and we have the power. How do you just lecture to people who have nothing? I think development comes first, “he emphasised.
The $20 billion pledge was made at a forum on China-Africa cooperation, which is double the amount Beijing agreed to lend to Africa at the last forum in 2009.
China’s President Hu Jintao said the loans would focus on supporting infrastructure, manufacturing and the development of small businesses in Africa.
In May this year the United States of America (US), acknowledged that there was competition with China denying claims that it is lobbying for its investment agreements especially with east African countries with the aim of blocking China’s investments.
The US said it is focused on humanitarian aid among other projects, as opposed to China which has invested much on infrastructure, electronic business and also the media.
“We are doing what we can to promote US investment here. It’s great that china and other nations are looking seriously at Africa, it’s a growing market. I think it would be a mistake to misinterpret that. However we have a very strong interest, “said US Assistant Secretary of Commerce Michael Camunez, who was on a 10-day tour in the East African Region in May.
The US is a major donor to Africa and takes in one-fifth of its imports, but trade in the opposite direction has slipped in recent years with $21 billion worth of US exports to sub-Saharan Africa in 2011.