Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi (L) meets with Nigerian Foreign Affairs Minister Geoffrey Onyeama in Abuja, Nigeria, on Jan 5, 2021. [Photo/Xinhua]

Countries should respect the continent’s sovereignty and listen to its voice, FM says

Africa is a venue for international cooperation, not an arena for games among powerful nations, State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi said during a visit to Nigeria on Tuesday.

Wang made the remarks to dismiss unfounded allegations that China is advancing its influence in Africa and competing with other countries from outside the region.

The senior diplomat is on a five-nation official tour in the continent this week, and he spoke with the media after meeting with Nigerian Foreign Affairs Minister Geoffrey Onyeama in Nigeria’s capital Abuja.

China-Africa cooperation is a forerunner of the world’s cooperation with the continent, which has encouraged other countries to pay more attention to and invest more in Africa one after another, Wang noted.

“This is a good thing for Africa, and China, as a friend of Africa, is also happy about it,” Wang said.

It is the shared duty of the international community to support Africa’s development, and countries should base their cooperation with the continent on respecting Africa’s sovereignty and listening to Africa’s voice, Wang said.

In the past 20 years, trade between China and Africa has grown 20-fold and China’s direct investment in Africa has increased 100-fold.

China has built more than 6,000 kilometers of railways, 6,000 km of roads, nearly 20 ports and over 80large power plants in Africa.

China-Africa cooperation has seen its fruits all over the continent, and makes significant contributions to the improved livelihood of African people, Wang said.

China’s unremitting efforts to this end should not be tarnished, and the hard work of Chinese engineers and medical personnel should not be ignored,” Wang said.

China-Africa cooperation has never been exclusive, and Beijing is willing to promote trilateral or multilateral cooperation with Africa and play its constructive role in promoting peace and development in Africa, Wang said.

On Tuesday, Wang also met with Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari. The president hailed China’s important role in his country’s sustained development, and said the West African nation is committed to further advancing its ties with China.

Starting in 1991, Chinese foreign ministers have made their first trip abroad every year to Africa, and Wang’s ongoing trip to the continent marks the 31st visit.

Wang’s trip this week will also take him to the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Botswana, Tanzania and Seychelles.

When asked about his consideration for this tour, Wang said this tradition of paying visits shows strong support for the prosperity of African countries, and his continuing this tradition despite the risks posed by the COVID-19 pandemic manifests the readiness to weather the storm together.

This tour is aimed to send clear messages that China firmly supports Africa in the fight against the pandemic, supports speeding up its economic recovery, supports the upgrade of China-Africa cooperation and supports Africa in advancing its international influence, Wang said.