President Xi Jinping and his wife Peng Liyuan attend the welcoming banquet for the leaders participating in the second summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation in Johannesburg on Thursday. HUANG JINGWEN/XINHUA
That President Xi Jinping pledged $60 billion in development aid for African countries took many by surprise. After all, it is triple the amount China promised at the last China-Africa cooperation summit, and comes at a time when the Chinese economy is slowing. [Special coverage]
However, it is in line with the ambitious 10-area cooperation blueprint Xi unveiled in Johannesburg to help industrialize African economies, modernize local agriculture, upgrade local infrastructure, improve public health and eradicate poverty on the continent.
Such a commitment is essential given Xi's promise of adherence to the principles of "sincerity, real results, affinity and good faith" in the country's Africa policies and achieving the "right balance between upholding principles and pursuing benefits".
Like the United States, India, and many others, China, too, sees Africa as a land of opportunities.
But unlike those of any other country, China's Africa policies are not just about securing access to African resources and markets.
Xi's talk about China and Africa being "good friends, partners, and brothers" was not just empty diplomatic rhetoric.
The average Chinese is indeed accustomed to calling Africans brothers. And such brotherly feelings did not come out of nowhere:
Itself a victim of foreign aggression and suppression, this country supported the struggles of African countries for independence.
And both the government and people of China cherish profound gratitude to African countries for their support that allowed the People's Republic of China to take its due seat in the United Nations.
Chinese aid programs to Africa started way before the country found anything to gain from that remote continent. And besides such infrastructure landmarks as the Tanzania-Zambia Railway, numerous Chinese medical teams have served the needs of patients in African communities.
And, unlike others, China does not interfere in the internal affairs of African countries. Chinese aid comes with no political strings attached. Because, unlike others who are keen on dictating local affairs, Chinese believe African people are capable of and have the right to make their own choices.
The latest cooperation package Xi announced is a fresh show of sincerity, because it focuses on capacity building. The tailor-made training programs and pilot projects will substantially help boost local capacity, better serve local needs, and bring long-term changes to the African economic landscape.