Why China Is The Biggest Advocate For A “United Sates of Africa”

Last year, Chinese President Xi Jinping addressed at the opening ceremony of the Johannesburg Summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) and announced that China will roll out 10 key programs with its African counterparts to strengthen tie with Africa in the later 3 years. One key program is that China-Africa peace and security program, China will denote 60 million U.S. dollars to the African Union to build and train its army, both its regular army and crisis response, as well as assisting UN peacekeeping in the continent.

So why is China the world’s biggest advocate to push forward a peaceful and integrated Africa? Reasons are given as follows:-

xi in china african forum
Leaders at a forum on China-Africa Cooperation

The power to intervene during humanitarian crisis

IMG_1930
Photo source: Xinhua Net

In 2011, a total of 35,860 Chinese people had been evacuated from the unrest-torn Libya via chartered flights which had become the biggest and the most complex (probably also the most expensive) overseas evacuation ever carried out by the Chinese government since its establishment in 1949. China seemed to be helpless in front of similar humanitarian crisis because China holds an non-intervention foreign policy that a country should not interfere in the internal politics of another country as well as the state sovereignty and self-determination. The solution is the foundation of the Peace and Security Council under the African Union. According to the establishment protocols of Peace and Security Council (PSC), African Union’s security force can carry out peace-making, peace-building and peace-support missions as well recommend intervention in a Member State in respect of grave situations, such as war crimes, genocide and crimes against humanity (au.int 2016).

A peaceful Africa is critical to China’s investment

South Sudan unrest
Chinese worker & local employee in South Sudan
Photo source: asft.cc

A conflict erupted in Juba, South Sudan in mid-December 2013 which quickly became a national-wide, political and ethnic crisis had resulted in displacement of million of people. As for China, it was forced to give up its huge investments there (Juba’s economy was dominated by Asian companies, primarily from China). No doubt that a peaceful Africa is of great important to Chinese companies and Chinese government.

Part of The Foreign Aid Policy

china's Foreign Aid Policy
Photo source: ifeng.com

Since establishment in 1949, one major principle of China’s foreign aid policy has been South-South cooperation which is to share knowledge, skills, expertise and resources with other developing countries to achieve mutual goals through concerted efforts (Cheng & Chan 2015). Deng Xiaoping, statesman of China, in his speech at the UN General Assembly in 1974 pointed out that Beijing was a developing nation and will always belong to the third world. Deng proposed a series of important thoughts in south-south cooperation, in which he urged that developing countries should properly solve difference and strengthen cooperation. Therefore, Chinese policy makers have held that helping Africa to become economically successful and gain unity is not just for China but also for Africa, a continent that shares similar experience of colonial domination and exploitation.

List of reference

au.int 2016 Peace and Security Council (PSC), accessed on 15 March 2016 [online] available: http://au.int/organs/psc

Cheng, I. H. & Chan, S. J. 2015 International Education Aid in Developing Asia: Policies and Practices, Singapore: Springer

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