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China’s New Year’s Visit to Africa Celebrates Thirty Years of Partnership

China’s New Year’s Visit to Africa Celebrates Thirty Years of Partnership

The traditional Africa visit as “first trip” of the New Year by a senior Chinese official, began today as Foreign Minister Wang Yi was welcomed in the embattled country of Nigeria. This year marks the 30th year (starting in 1991) that China has chosen Africa for this “most-favored nation” honor. In addition to Nigeria, Wang will also visit the Democratic Republic of Congo, Botswana, Tanzania and Seychelles between now and January 9.

Wang’s visit comes as many nations on the continent are struggling with the re-emerging Covid-19 virus, which has already contributed to an emergence of famine conditions in places, and brought even the sturdier countries to the brink of collapse. In response, Nigerian head of Parliament Femi Gbajabiamila convened a Conference of Speakers and Heads of African Parliaments (CoSAP, so-far involving seven nations) this summer, in an effort to set the groundwork for {debt forgiveness} on the entire continent, a movement which, if China got behind it, could take on major significance. On December 10, Gbajabiamila presented his proposals for a Debt Cancellation Campaign Initiative to a virtual conference which reportedly included representatives from the United Nations, World Bank and European Union, among others, explaining to them that, “if all your money is going toward servicing debt, then how are we serious about this [recovery] agenda?”

For possibly the first time, Wang’s upcoming visits made headlines in an American publication, {Newsweek}, who took notice of the 30-year history of good Africa-China relations, and — although they felt duty-bound to mention that China is where Covid-19 “was first detected” — otherwise noted that China has made a “speedy recovery” which puts them ahead of western nations in regard to helping Africa.

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