China's top diplomat Wang Yi will visit Nigeria, Kenya, South Africa and Turkey at the invitation of the countries later this month, prior to and following his attendance at a BRICS meeting in South Africa, the Chinese Foreign Ministry announced on Wednesday.
Wang's scheduled visits to the key African countries reflect the importance China attaches to the continent and its efforts in bolstering African regional integration, experts said.
At the invitation of Minister in the Presidency Khumbudzo Ntshavheni of South Africa and the governments of Nigeria, Kenya, South Africa and Turkey, Wang Yi, a member of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee and Director of the Office of the Foreign Affairs Commission of the CPC Central Committee, will attend the 13th Meeting of BRICS National Security Advisers and High Representatives on National Security in Johannesburg from July 24 to 25, and visit Nigeria, Kenya, South Africa and Turkey before and after the meeting, said Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Mao Ning during Wednesday's regular news conference.
Analysts said these visits to the three African countries are of great significance.
Nigeria, Kenya and South Africa are three important partners of China in Africa, Song Wei, a professor at the School of International Relations and Diplomacy at Beijing Foreign Studies University, told the Global Times on Wednesday. The three countries are located in West Africa, East Africa and Southern Africa, respectively, and are also important pivot countries on the continent, Song said.
"Wang's upcoming visit to the three countries reflects the importance China attaches to its relations with Africa and its efforts to promote African integration," said Song.
There has been a lot of cooperation in the field of energy between China and Nigeria. "Nigeria is a major energy-exploiting country, but at the same time it faces some deficiencies in the construction of its energy system and a potential threat of energy crisis," Song said, pointing out that China may further explore the potential for cooperation in energy processing, system construction, and clean energy sources with the country.
In December 2022, the China-aided construction of the permanent headquarters of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) began in Nigeria's capital, Abuja, to consolidate the regional bloc's operations in one complex - a departure from operating at three different locations in Abuja.
In Kenya, there are a very large number of Chinese investments and companies. As the business and investment environment in Kenya is relatively good, the two sides are likely to promote more business cooperation as well as investment by Chinese companies in Kenya, Song said.
Earlier in March and April, a delegation of Chinese investors paid a visit to Kenya with a view to exploring investment opportunities in the East African nation. Some of the investors said that they have identified Kenya as an investment destination because it has a favorable investment climate and government support.
In addition, Wang and South African leaders may further explore the role BRICS can play and how to strengthen South Africa's regional influence.
In June, the two sides vowed to further deepen the comprehensive strategic partnership.
Through the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), Chinese companies have invested in infrastructure construction and mine exploration in Africa. Observers noted that China's cooperation with African countries has always been open and inclusive.
While the U.S. treats China as an imaginary enemy for expanding its influence in Africa and presses African countries to pick sides, China's cooperation with African countries has always been based on the needs of these countries without political strings, and China has always welcomed cooperation from the U.S. and Europe in the region, Song said.