Africa should not serve as arena for global contests — China’s foreign minister

Africa should not serve as arena for global contests — China’s foreign minister

Africa should not be an arena for international competition between world powers, China’s new Foreign Minister Qin Gang said on Wednesday while inaugurating the new headquarters of the Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), a pan-African health body.

Qin is on a five-nation African tour, a week after bidding farewell to Washington, D.C., where he had been the Chinese ambassador to the US since July 2021. He visited facilities of the African Union (AU) in Addis Ababa, including the Africa CDC complex whose construction, much like previously the headquarters of the AU itself, was financed by China. AU says all nations are welcome to partner with Africa but must respect the continent’s values, beliefs and interests. But with China and the US competing for dominance in Africa, Qing’s first port of call as foreign affairs minister is to interface with leaders in Ethiopia, Gabon, Angola, Benin, and Egypt – all of which attended the US-Africa Leaders Summit in Washington in December last year.

“Africa should be a big stage for the international cooperation, not an arena for major countries competition,” Qin said at a news conference with AU Commission chief Moussa Faki Mahamat.

The absence of a permanent representation for Africa on the UN Security Council is a pressing problem, said Mahamat, adding that this is paradoxical since the council’s agenda focuses mostly on and concerns African nations.

The Chinese minister also met with Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed and other government officials, announcing a partial cancellation of Ethiopia’s $13.7 billion worth of debt to China. Qin will also visit Egypt, Angola, Benin and Gabon during his African tour.

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