China defends Namibian ties

The Asian giant says it is doing what is right in its dealings with African nations like Namibia.

17 April 2018 | Local News

The Charge d'Affaires of China to Namibia says the era of dominating Africa is over and that African countries can decide for themselves what is good for them.

In an exclusive interview with Namibian Sun, Li Nan said China does not want to dominate Africa.

“African countries know what is good for them and what is bad for them. All countries have the right to forge friendly relations with African countries,” he said.

Li further emphasised that China has never colonised Africa.

“It is like a joke. We have provided assistance to African countries from the 60s and now that we are more developed, we can do more.”

According to Li, China is empowering their sister countries by developing them and providing support.

He described the term “recolonialisation” as a fabrication and ridiculous and said Namibia should never be fooled by these false accusations.

Li was responding to recent claims by former US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, who cautioned African countries against taking Chinese loans. He said African countries must “carefully consider” their agreements with China, saying they force African countries into dependency and harmed growth.

“Chinese investment does have the potential to address Africa's infrastructure gap, but its approach has led to mounting debt and Afew, if any, jobs in most countries,” Tillerson was recently quoted as saying.

“When coupled with the political and fiscal pressure, this endangers Africa's natural resources and its long-term economic political stability.”

Li said there are some countries making accusations against China, but said China is only doing what is right.

“We play a constructive role,” he said. “We do not want to dominate African countries.

“You cannot accuse a country of something because they are helping another. That is not in the Harambee spirit, as they say. It is not in the spirit of international relations,” he said.

According to Li over the past 28 years China has provided N$6 billion in grant assistance to Namibia. He added that some concessional loans are also given interest free, however this is very limited.

“China is not big debtor to Namibia. Our grant assistance is much bigger.”



ELLANIE SMIT

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