KIGALI - President Paul Kagame has praised China’s investment in African countries and called on the West to change their approach from giving aid to investing in the continent.
The President said this in an exclusive interview that ran yesterday with German business daily, Handelsblatt.
“I would prefer the Western world to invest in Africa rather than handing out development aid. There is a need for help but it should be implemented in such a way as to enable trade and build up companies. Western firms have to a large extent polluted Africa and they are still doing it. Think of the dumping of nuclear waste in the Ivory Coast or the fact that Somalia is being used as a rubbish bin by European firms,” Kagame was quoted by Handelsblatt.
“Huge Chinese investment in African companies and infrastructure is helping Africa develop. The Chinese bring what Africa needs: investment and money for governments and companies.”
“European and American involvement has not brought Africa forward, blaming high trade tariffs for Africa’s inability to access global markets with their produce.”
“China is investing in infrastructure and building roads,” said Kagame.
Kagame called for a redirection of development aid towards investment.
In May, China announced it was boosting its state-run Africa investment fund by two billion dollars.
Since its launch in 2006, the China-Africa Development Fund has invested some 400 million dollars in the continent.
Currently the trade between China and Africa accounts for $100 billion annually.
The relationship between China and Africa can be traced back to the 1960s during the Cold War when China provided support to Africa’s liberation movements.
Since the late 1980s, China’s relationship with Africa took a new turn, leaning more towards economic co-operation thanks to China’s economic reforms.
There are over 500 Chinese-owned investment projects in Africa in the areas of resource extraction.
Recently, World Bank President Robert Zoellick said he is in talks with the Chinese government about cooperating on investments in Africa, which he said could help boost the continent’s economic growth.
During his visit to China, Zoellick revealed that China Investment Corp had expressed interest in investing in the World Bank’s recently launched asset management company, which invests private-sector funds in sub-Saharan Africa and Latin America.