China offers Africa $40b, denies creating debt trap

Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari (L) and Chinese President Xi Jinping shake hands during a signing ceremony at the Great Hall of the People in BeijingBy TOM CHIAHEMEN –China has promised $40 billion in financing Africa economic growth this year as it defends itself from claims that its lending of money to Africa is creating a debt trap. Beijing has said Africa should be a big stage for international co-operation rather than an arena for games between superpowers.Speaking in Mombasa, Chinese top diplomat Wang Yi said those spreading false information about China’s supposedly trapping of poor African countries with debt are only out to destroy the country’s relations with African states. President Uhuru Kenyatta and Mr Wang Yi, China’s State Counsellor and Minister for Foreign Affairs, tour the new offshore Kipevu Oil Terminal in Mombasa. PHOTO | PSCU“This is a narrative, so called debt trap created by some great nations, those who don’t want to see developments in Africa. If there is any trap, it is about poverty and underdevelopment. Those spreading the false narrative don’t want to see Africa rising,” Mr Wang said during the signing of six bilateral agreements between Kenya and China.Bilateral supportThe diplomat said China would work with other Africa-friendly countries to contribute to independent and sustainable development. “Our commitment is to be Africa’s good friend and partner. Our bilateral relationship has become a fine example of solidarity, co-operation and common development between China and Africa. We will continue to support each other,” he added.His visit, which saw him tour Eritrea and Comoros, comes at a time when Beijing is in the eye of the storm over its “potential takeover’’ of key African infrastructure due to debt distress by several governments.Healthy competition“If there must be some competition let us compete for who does more for Africa. Let us compete for who contributes more for Africa’s development,” Mr Wang said.READ ALSO:  Measles, one of the leading causes of blindness in children, says ophthalmologist“As a friend of Africa, China will never sit idle. The vaccines will be delivered in every corner of Africa where there is a need. In the face of various acts of power politics, China and Africa will defend international justice and fairness,” he added.The Chinese official also held a meeting with President Uhuru Kenyatta, where the two governments “reaffirmed their partnerships in trade and infrastructure.”In the talks, Kenya sought to export avocado and aquatic products while China intends to continue donating rice to the East African country for humanitarian aid.The two countries signed six trade agreements and promised to form a joint working group to address trade barriers and reduce trade imbalances.On Thursday, a literacy guidebook designed to train journalists on spotting and countering authoritarian export in Nigerian Media space was unveiled in Abuja, Nigeria with participants raising alarm over Chinese role.At a training workshop for journalists as part of the unveiling, guest speakers and participants described the guidebook as an eye opener as it exposes unnoticed Chinese infiltration of Nigerian media space in alleged pursuit of exportation of her ideological agenda in Nigeria.The organisers of the event, Sahel Standard Media in a statement by the Project Manager, Farouk Mohammed described the guidebook as “the first of its kind in Nigeria and Sub-Sahara Africa to study and identify how China deploys sharp practices in Nigerian Media Space and how this impact the democratic life of Nigeria.“The guidebook identifies key tactics that Chinese operatives deploy in media influencing operations and also included strategies and means of countering such Maligning Influences. The guidebook also included long list of negative impact of such Chinese practices on Nigerian democracy.READ ALSO:  Buhari inaugurates NNPC Board, demands transparency, accountability“The guidebook is a goldmine of previously unpublished and unarticulated reality of China’s media influence. We expect this guidebook to empower journalists and media operatives to protect free press and democratic norms and practices”, Mr Mohammed said.Dr Anule Emmanuel in his presentation, “Tracking and Countering Maligning Influences in News Rooms” said, we must understand that we are basically watchdogs as journalists and it is our core responsibility to checkmate the government with our reportage. He said to counter maligning influences in the new rooms we must be inquisitive and have investigative spirit, analytical mind, courage, integrity and patriotic.“With good combination of our watchdog roles as the fourth estate of the realm and taking responsibilities of put government in constant check, reveal abuse of state authority and protect the constitutional rights of citizens it is possible to detect, track and counter maligning influences in our new room. The Deputy President, Guild of Cooperate O

China offers Africa $40b, denies creating debt trap
Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari (L) and Chinese President Xi Jinping shake hands during a signing ceremony at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing

By TOM CHIAHEMEN –

China has promised $40 billion in financing Africa economic growth this year as it defends itself from claims that its lending of money to Africa is creating a debt trap.

Beijing has said Africa should be a big stage for international co-operation rather than an arena for games between superpowers.

Speaking in Mombasa, Chinese top diplomat Wang Yi said those spreading false information about China’s supposedly trapping of poor African countries with debt are only out to destroy the country’s relations with African states.

President Uhuru Kenyatta and Mr Wang Yi, China’s State Counsellor and Minister for Foreign Affairs, tour the new offshore Kipevu Oil Terminal in Mombasa. PHOTO | PSCU

“This is a narrative, so called debt trap created by some great nations, those who don’t want to see developments in Africa. If there is any trap, it is about poverty and underdevelopment. Those spreading the false narrative don’t want to see Africa rising,” Mr Wang said during the signing of six bilateral agreements between Kenya and China.

Bilateral support

The diplomat said China would work with other Africa-friendly countries to contribute to independent and sustainable development.

“Our commitment is to be Africa’s good friend and partner. Our bilateral relationship has become a fine example of solidarity, co-operation and common development between China and Africa. We will continue to support each other,” he added.

His visit, which saw him tour Eritrea and Comoros, comes at a time when Beijing is in the eye of the storm over its “potential takeover’’ of key African infrastructure due to debt distress by several governments.

Healthy competition

“If there must be some competition let us compete for who does more for Africa. Let us compete for who contributes more for Africa’s development,” Mr Wang said.

“As a friend of Africa, China will never sit idle. The vaccines will be delivered in every corner of Africa where there is a need. In the face of various acts of power politics, China and Africa will defend international justice and fairness,” he added.

The Chinese official also held a meeting with President Uhuru Kenyatta, where the two governments “reaffirmed their partnerships in trade and infrastructure.”

In the talks, Kenya sought to export avocado and aquatic products while China intends to continue donating rice to the East African country for humanitarian aid.

The two countries signed six trade agreements and promised to form a joint working group to address trade barriers and reduce trade imbalances.

On Thursday, a literacy guidebook designed to train journalists on spotting and countering authoritarian export in Nigerian Media space was unveiled in Abuja, Nigeria with participants raising alarm over Chinese role.

At a training workshop for journalists as part of the unveiling, guest speakers and participants described the guidebook as an eye opener as it exposes unnoticed Chinese infiltration of Nigerian media space in alleged pursuit of exportation of her ideological agenda in Nigeria.

The organisers of the event, Sahel Standard Media in a statement by the Project Manager, Farouk Mohammed described the guidebook as “the first of its kind in Nigeria and Sub-Sahara Africa to study and identify how China deploys sharp practices in Nigerian Media Space and how this impact the democratic life of Nigeria.

“The guidebook identifies key tactics that Chinese operatives deploy in media influencing operations and also included strategies and means of countering such Maligning Influences. The guidebook also included long list of negative impact of such Chinese practices on Nigerian democracy.

“The guidebook is a goldmine of previously unpublished and unarticulated reality of China’s media influence. We expect this guidebook to empower journalists and media operatives to protect free press and democratic norms and practices”, Mr Mohammed said.

Dr Anule Emmanuel in his presentation, “Tracking and Countering Maligning Influences in News Rooms” said, we must understand that we are basically watchdogs as journalists and it is our core responsibility to checkmate the government with our reportage. 

He said to counter maligning influences in the new rooms we must be inquisitive and have investigative spirit, analytical mind, courage, integrity and patriotic.

“With good combination of our watchdog roles as the fourth estate of the realm and taking responsibilities of put government in constant check, reveal abuse of state authority and protect the constitutional rights of citizens it is possible to detect, track and counter maligning influences in our new room. 

The Deputy President, Guild of Cooperate Online Publishers (GOCOP), Danlami Momodu mni, in his presentation, “Democracy, Authoritarian and Media: Choice for Free Press,” also revealed that free press is to protect and enhance the health of the society.  

He urged that we should strive to protect our democracy adding that people have paid the price to ensure democracy stands even though Nigeria’s democracy is not perfect but let us guard it jealously.

“The press which has constitutional role has always been under all manner of threats all through history. Let us help make the press free to serve the national interest better, to ensure robust debate. In fact, it is in the interest of the people, elite and all, for the press to remain free. We all need it always and especially at most critical junctures. Let us continue to nourish free press.”

Mr Martins Ode, PhD Student, Media Arts, University of Abuja also stated in his presentation, “Chinese Influence and Democracy: The Growing Threat said, we must at this stage clear the illusion about dividends of democracy adding that the dividends of democracy are not the full employment, food on the table, light in the homes, and working telephones.

“The truth, however, is that democracy has more to offer than food and good things of life. Democracy is democracy because of “freedom of expression and liberty’; and the vehicle for measuring the quantum of freedom and liberty in any climes is the media of mass communication which do not exist in a vacuum.”

He added that the objectives of this paper is to expose participants to the realities of the arguably negative entreaties of China to Nigeria and to strengthen the capacity of the Nigerian Journalists to become a smart maven that can easily decipher and counter those measures. 

Other discussants included Mr. Tom Chiahemen, Publisher of NATIONAL ACCORD Newspaper; Mr. Max Amuchie, CEO of Sundiata Post; Mr. Ali Adoyi, Managing Editor of Daily Post; Alhaji Yusuf Ozi-Usman, Publisher of Greenbarge Reporters and Mr. Matthew Adoyi Aba, Weekend Editor of Blueprint Newspapers, among others.

(With a report by The EastAfrican)