China is the continent of Africa’s biggest trading partner, and according to the head of the China Council for the Promotion of International Trade, Jiang Zengwei, bilateral economic relations between the two are “booming”.
However, with this increase in trade cooperation, the Chinese government has expressed the urgent need for African governments to be independent of their developments. Pointing out that Nigeria, who they regard as the major African power, should proficiently lead a self-sustaining economy.
Interested in maintaining a deeper cooperation with the continent of Africa, China believes that governments and firms in the continent should come out with workable plans to enable them to benefit from the $60 billion funding support from the Chinese government.
According to Senior Research Professor, Zhang Yong-Peng of the institute of West Asia and African Studies (WAAS) in the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS), between 2016 and 2018, the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation, FOCAC, will focus on agriculture and food security, with $60 billion of funding support for African countries, and another $40 billion pool fund made available for interested countries and firms in the continent, through the Maritime/Silk Road Fund (according to Vanguard).
Notable portions of the $60 billion funding support breakdown: $5 billion for free aid and interest-free loans; $35 billion of preferential loans and export credit on more favourable terms; $5 billion of additional capital for the China Africa Development Fund and special loan for the development of African SMEs each; and $10 billion (initial capital) of the China-Africa Production Capacity Cooperation Fund.
Bilateral trade between China and Africa reached $149.1 billion in 2016, and while trade relations between China and Africa had been growing rapidly, investment ties have also prospered, with Chinese companies investing $3.2 billion in the continent in 2016.