A driver pays a fee at a toll station on the Nairobi Expressway financed and built by China Road and Bridge Corp in Nairobi, Kenya, in May. (LONG LEI/XINHUA)
From 2000 to 2020, China helped continent build some 13,000 km railways, 100,000 km highways, 1,000 bridges, 100 ports and more
Having seen African people benefit from decades of cooperation with China, which has ushered in new infrastructure, more job opportunities and greater momentum for the continent's sustainable development, Malian Foreign Minister Abdoulaye Diop told Xinhua News Agency he deems the partnership "a friendly cooperation between brothers". Indeed, a number of cooperation projects and productive mechanisms for equal dialogue have all become clear proof of China-Africa cooperation that is carried out in line with the principles of sincerity, real results, affinity and good faith, and with a commitment to the greater good and shared interests.
"Today, the outcomes of China-Africa cooperation are all over the African continent. The roads, railways, airports, ports, high-rise buildings, stadiums and other infrastructure that China helped build can be seen everywhere," said Chinese Ambassador to Liberia Ren Yisheng in a recent article published in Liberian media.
Between 2000 and 2020, China helped African countries build more than 13,000 kilometers of railways, some 100,000 km of highways, 1,000 bridges, 100 ports and more than 80 large-scale power facilities.
China has also aided the construction of more than 130 medical facilities, 45 sports venues and over 170 schools, trained more than 160,000 professionals across various fields and created in excess of 4.5 million jobs for Africa, said the ambassador.
Since the existing infrastructure gap acts as a drag on Africa's economic growth, the continent is in urgent need of upgrading its infrastructure through cooperation. The African Development Bank said improved infrastructure will facilitate Africa's domestic and international trade, reduce business costs and enhance competitiveness — both as an export and an investment destination.
In this regard, China has been playing a significant role. "In 2020, for instance, Chinese firms were responsible for 31 percent of all infrastructure projects in Africa with a value of $50 billion or more," Deloitte, a consultancy, said in a report.
Investment in African infrastructure is "a global public good in the context of the worldwide significance of Africa's demographic evolution and its necessary productive transformation", the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development said in a report.
China has been providing public goods through its cooperation with Africa despite COVID-19 disruptions. After the onset of the pandemic, Chinese and local staff have been struggling to overcome difficulties to keep more than 1,100 cooperation projects running consistently, and the implementation rate of the outcomes of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation Beijing Summit has exceeded 70 percent, said Ren.
Describing Africa's infrastructure achievements as an illustration of the win-win partnership with China, Diop, the Malian foreign minister, said, "Since the creation of the FOCAC in 2000, China-Africa relations have continued to grow, particularly in the economic, industrial, agricultural and diplomatic areas."
During the 8th Ministerial Conference of the FOCAC held in Senegal in November 2021, China pledged to jointly roll out nine programs with African countries, and upgrade China-Africa cooperation in various fields including healthcare, improvement of people's livelihoods, green development, digital economy and capacity building.
In the Dakar Declaration issued during the conference, China welcomed and encouraged African countries to join the Belt and Road Initiative cooperation.
Over the past few years, the China-proposed BRI has helped enhance infrastructure connectivity across the continent and boost intra-African trade in the long run. It has become even more attractive to Africans, given that China has aligned the initiative with Agenda 2063, an economic blueprint proposed by the African Union.
In Kenya, for instance, the 480-km Mombasa-Nairobi Standard Gauge Railway financed and built by China has greatly facilitated the movement of goods and passengers. As one of the flagship BRI projects, it is the first modern railway built in Kenya in the past century, and also the country's largest infrastructure project since its independence in 1963.