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Republic of Congo example of friendly relations with Africa

2013-04-01 10:04 China Daily     Web Editor: Wang Fan comment

Upon landing at Maya-Maya Airport in Brazzaville, capital of the Republic of Congo, it is quickly apparent the brand new terminal building was constructed by Chinese as my compatriots could still be seen working on the opposite side of the airport, which will be completed in June 2013.

Across the city and the entire country, Chinese companies are playing a large role in infrastructure construction. It's a situation that is not only limited to this country but one that exists in most African countries.

China has a reputation for aiding African countries through donations and building infrastructure. However, few people know that in China's Qinghai-Tibet Plateau the roles are reversed.

The China-Congo Friendship Primary School was built immediately after a disastrous earthquake in Chindu county, in Northwest China's Qinghai province, in 2010 following a donation of 16 million yuan ($2.57 million) from Brazzaville. The new school, covering 4.2 hectares and seven times larger than its predecessor, was warmly received by the Chinese people and gave them a strong sense of confidence in the friendship and future ties with the Republic of Congo.

This kind of interactive and reciprocal exchange proves the old saying that "a friend in need is a friend indeed". It has never been a single player game and even more interaction is expected. President Xi Jinping's first Africa visit as China's new leader reached an end in Brazzaville, but his policy toward this continent has clearly shown that the concerns of Africans remain top of the agenda of China's Africa policy.

More jobs, better education, greater integration and, more importantly, a real impetus to industrialization have become the guiding principles to the future of Africa's development, which will definitely benefit from Xi's announcement during this Africa debut of more loans to local infrastructure projects, more investment in manufacturing in Africa and more scholarships to study in China.

Local media and commentary regarding this visit paid attention to the flexibility and mobility that African countries have enjoyed in this relationship but have also demanded more African initiative in it. This has been addressed by the Chinese government's Africa policy, for instance providing more string-free financial aid and bigger tax-free quotas for African goods. However, there is still room for more to be done in the years ahead.

People in the three countries Xi visited displayed typical African hospitality. Although ups and downs have been witnessed in this relationship, Africans still value China's development experience as "borrowable" and technology and skills as "tangible".

Dimi Gael, a 30-year-old Congolese man who returned from China last month, said there are plenty of opportunities that China can bring to this continent and its people. "I spent lots of time looking for machines and equipment that may meet my country's current need to create more jobs and a more sustainable economy," said Gael, who spent three years studying business at Zhongnan University of Economics and Law in Central China's Hubei province.

He said given his current financial condition, the best way forward for him is to buy a soap-making machine to start a business, which, in his opinion, would be quite promising.

"We have a large demand for soap but we can only buy it from Kinshasa so the market will be waiting for me if I can produce it locally," he said, adding that his China-related background will provide an all-round benefit to his future business.

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