China foreign minister says investment in Africa ‘mutually beneficial’


ACCRA — China’s foreign minister Wang Yi on Thursday promised that his country’s economic growth would benefit Africa, as he met Ghana’s President John Dramani Mahama in Accra. Wang, who is on a four-nation African tour, called 2014 a year of “ever-deepening reform” in China, with the target of “national rejuvenation.” “The 1.3 billion people of China are working towards the modernization of our country, something if achieved will be never-before seen in the history of mankind,” he said. “Yet we have the confidence and the capability to achieve that strategic goal and in that process we are most willing to grow and prosper together with our African brothers.” China has increasingly eyed Africa to fuel and fund its burgeoning economy, which last year is estimated to have grown 7.6 percent, according to a government report. Senior ministers and presidents Hu Jintao to Xi Jinping have personally courted African nations, with deals signed in sectors from oil and gas to agriculture and infrastructure. In January 2012 Wang’s predecessor Yang Jiechi hailed Africa a “golden ground” for foreign investment while Beijing last July pledged to double its aid to the continent to US$20 billion a year. Chinese trade with Africa stood at US$200 billion in 2012, prompting talk of the continent as a potential battleground for a proxy economic Cold War with Western powers. Wang said emerging oil producer Ghana, which has enjoyed high growth rates in recent years and been a relative haven of stability in volatile West Africa, was an ideal partner. “We believe there is a lot we can learn from them,” he said through a translator, adding that Chinese involvement in Africa could have “mutual benefits” for everyone. The Chinese Development Bank has agreed a US$3 billion loan to Ghana’s government to fund a variety of infrastructure projects, including in gas supply. Mahama said the work would transform the country but expressed concern as only about US$600 million of the loan had so far been disbursed, causing delivery delays.

“We are very anxious to have that matter dealt with,” he added.