There has been much speculation in the Western media of late as to Chinas intent in Africa, there has been much talk of Soft Power, Imperial ambitions and outright exploitation. On the completion the fifth Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) in Beijing (19-20 July 2012) here is a round-up of current projects undertaken by China or Chinese Companies:
China plans to build a centre for agricultural research and technological demonstration near Bamako, Mali, to carry out experiments and technical training, and to contribute to the development of sustainable agriculture in the country, according to an agreement between the governments announced last month (11 July) The centre - to be built this year on a 20 hectare site in Baguinéda in the region of Koulikoro, 40 kilometres from the country's capital, Bamako - will focus on developing rice, maize and horticultural production.
It will be built at an estimated cost of 55 million Chinese yuan (around US$8.6 million), with a loan from China. Anastase Hessou Azontondé, chief of the soil science, water and environment laboratory at the National Institute of Agricultural Research of Benin (INRAB), said the centre would use Chinese funds to "bring to Mali technologies developed by Chinese talent and experience".
It is part of China's soft power diplomacy and research strategy, according to Azontondé, who said: "The results will be most useful to Africa".
Huawei Technologies is the biggest supplier for most of the telecom equipment for MTN Zambia, Airtel Zambia and Zamtel. Huawei Technologies has announced it will help upgrade facilities at the University Teaching Hospital (UTH) in Zambia in order to help the medical staff provide better medical care to patients.
The Chinese telecom equipment manufacturer said in addition to providing telecom equipment, it will as well provide the much needed beds, mattresses and blanks to the UTH’s clinic.
Huawei representative Zou Liqiang said the company is on a mission to enrich lives in the country through communication and supporting communities in which it operates.
China’s state-owned Sinohydro Corp. is restoring the 1,344- kilometer Benguela railway linking the cobalt reserves in the South of the Democratic Republic of Congo and copper mines in Zambia to Angola’s Lobito port, 243 miles south of Luanda, the capital. Zambias current major export partners are South Africa (21.5% of total exports), the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) (19.8%), the UK (14.5%) and China (10.3%). The share of exports to the EU has declined to around 8-9%.
Mr. Junqing Lu (The Chairman of the World Eminence Chinese Business Association) commented on the project dubbed “China-Africa Project Hope”, which is driven by Chinese entrepreneurs. It has set aside approximately Ksh. 1.2Billion (15 million US dollars) towards this continental project.
China will put up 10 ICT-driven model primary schools in Kenya as part of a project that aims at constructing 1000 such schools across the African continent.
The first phase of the programme, he added, targets three nations including Kenya, which will receive an initial funding of approximately Khs. 12 Million in addition to having the schools equipped with computers.
Mr. Lu who was accompanied by the Secretary General of the project Ms Jennifer Lu and the Chinese ambassador to Kenya Mr. Liu Guang Yuan announced that a delegation of Chinese investors would be visiting Kenya in March as a follow up to explore investment opportunities.
The establishment of the model schools in Kenya would go along way in supplementing the government's efforts in providing quality free primary education to her citizens.
Lecturers and Students from Ugandass Makerere University received ICT certification upon successful completion of ICT training in Huawei’s East Africa Training Centre in Nairobi. Upon Signing a Memorandum of understanding with Makerere University early this year, Huawei Uganda sponsored an ICT training session for 10 students and lecturers from Makerere.
As part of its Corporate social responsibility efforts, Huawei will also sponsor ICT scholarship for students from this month. Uganda needs to invest heavily in this sector as the strategic drive for addressing increasing challenges facing the education in the ICT sector.
Mr Lin Lin, Chinese ambassador to Zimbabwe, has pledged to assist the country renew its infrastructure during his time as Ambassador. Zimbabwe and China have recently signed a number of agreements in various sectors of the economy.
Anjin Investment, a joint venture company between the two countries is currently involved in the mining of diamonds in Marange as well as providing loans for the construction of the National Defence College. It has already provided funds for renovations of infrastructure in Victoria Falls ahead of the United Countries World Tourism Organisation general assembly to be co-hosted with Zambia next year.
The Chinese government has provided a US$150 million loan facility to Harare City Council to revamp its water and sewer reticulation systems.