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China is Africa’s best bet, says ambassador to SA

Lin Songtian, China’s ambassador to South Africa, is convinced that his country’s interventions in Africa are building the continent’s ability to compete on the global stage.

Chinese ambassador Lin Songtian lauded his country’s investments across the continent while at the same time lambasting Western countries that are critical of its involvement in Africa.

Speaking at the opening day of the Africa/China Industrial and Infrastructural Cooperation Conference at the University of Johannesburg this week, Lin said: “Wherever you go in Africa you will see infrastructure built by China.”

Although China had contributed to the building of Africa, Western countries were happy to criticise it for allegedly trying to entice the continent into a debt trap.

In Nigeria, for example, China built infrastructure but did not tap into that country’s biggest natural resource of oil.

Lin said his country had built more than 200 schools, 90 power plants, more than 30% of all major construction development projects, as well as 80% of all communication infrastructure across the continent “to facilitate industrialisation, urbanisation and sustainable development”.

He said that Chinese telecommunications giants, such as Huawei, came to the continent only as equipment suppliers and infrastructure developers “in order for European countries and Americans” to benefit as operators.

In a speech punctuated by swipes at the US and European countries, Lin said his country was committed to Africa’s development and was responsible for the growth of the GDP of several of the continent’s states by up to 5%.

He said European countries’ involvement in the continent had declined but the continent was growing because of China’s involvement.


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