Chinese capture claims denounced

Describing China as an all-weather friend, President Hage Geingob says that country sees commonalities and potential for long-lasting friendship, while others see Africa as a source of wealth.

10 September 2018 | International

“China is using its leverage as an economic superpower to get a hand on the continent’s natural resources.” Ndumba Kamwanyah, political commentator

Ogone Tlhage – Namibian president Hage Geingob has denounced claims that a recent investment summit held in Beijing, China, was an attempt to dupe African leaders into taking lucrative but pricey loans from that country that would ensure a debt trap for the continent.

Addressing heads of state at the Forum for Africa China Cooperation (FOCAC) summit held recently, Geingob described China as an all-weather friend that was walking with Africa on the road to development.

“We are also here to state that no one can stand in the way or obstruct sovereign African countries from travelling to China to meet with our all-weather friend, who has pledged to walk with us, through thick and thin, down the path to economic development and prosperity,” said Geingob.

According to him, where others saw Africa as a source of wealth, where others saw Africans as slaves, China saw commonalities and potential for long-lasting friendship. This established Sino-African relationship, built on a foundation of respect and mutual understanding is what formed FOCAC.

“The China-Africa partnership through FOCAC, is our portal towards a prosperous future. It is the epitome of an all-weather friendship,” said Geingob.

Rwandan President Paul Kagame, current chairman of the African Union, also rallied behind China's involvement in Africa. “Africa is not a zero sum game. Our growing ties with China do not come at anyone's expense,” he told the summit.

Leverage

Political commentator Ndumba Kamwanyah did not have kind words to describe the summit and said that China was using it to get its hands on the continent’s resources.

“The existence of FOCAC is one of the strategic elements of China's policy on Africa. China is using its leverage as an economic superpower to get a hand on the continent’s natural resources, and eventually recolonize Africa through the debt the continent is going to owe China in years to come,” he said.

According to him, African countries do not have a policy on Africa. “All they have is a begging bowl to the new master. They took nothing to the FOCAC forum but the begging bowl. It's in that context that Namibia stands to gain nothing from the Chinese loans in the long-run. All what we are gaining is debt that our government is incurring for future generations,” Kamwanyah said.

The Chinese used the summit to offer Namibian authorities a loan facility to fund the proposed construction and upgrade of the Hosea Kutako International Airport as part of its Belt Road Initiative.

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