BEIJING, April 30 (Xinhua) -- Chinese Premier Li Keqiang will pay official visits to Ethiopia, Nigeria, Angola and Kenya on May 4-11 in a significant bid to further foster the time-tested China-Africa relations.
During his stay in Ethiopia, Li will also visit the headquarters of the African Union (AU) in the Ethiopian capital city of Addis Ababa on May 5. While visiting Nigeria, the premier will attend the 2014 World Economic Forum on Africa to be held in Abuja, capital of Nigeria.
It will be Li's first Africa tour since he assumed office and comes after Chinese President Xi Jinping's historic visit to Africa in March last year, aiming to push forward China-Africa ties and enhance their mutually beneficial and win-win cooperation.
Within the context of globalization, rapidly-developing China and emerging Africa have been striving to cement their ties on the basis of mutual respect and equal treatment.
The fact that the two sides hold their hands together tightly and stand side by side holds great significance not only for their own development, but also for deepening South-South cooperation and building a multi-polarized world.
CHINA'S CONCEPTION OF AFRICA
During his visit, Premier Li will meet leaders of the four African countries and the AU, and have broad engagement with peoples from all walks of life. He is also scheduled to deliver a speech when he visits the AU headquarters to expound on China's Africa policy.
This will provide another opportunity for African countries and people to deeply understand the conception of Africa held by China's new leadership.
Ever since late Chinese Premier Zhou Enlai's maiden trip to Africa half a century ago, Africa has become increasingly important for China's foreign policy, and both sides have continuously created mutually beneficial and win-win prospects.
China's conception of Africa is in a sharp contrast with that of the colonialist West in the past.
Historically, China and Africa shared common historical experiences and supported each other on key issues. On October 25, 1971, China resumed its legal status in the United Nations largely due to support from the developing world, including many African countries. Late Chinese leader Mao Zedong said with a humor: "It's our African brothers that have carried us into the U.N."
In actuality, China always views Africa as an equal cooperation partner.
"The biggest characteristic of China-Africa cooperation is equality and mutual benefit. China never regards itself as a donor to Africa, but a partner," said Liu Guijin, a former Chinese special representative on African affairs.
Liu sees Africa as the "most basic base" of China's overall diplomacy which occupies an increasingly important position in China's diplomacy in the complicated and fast-changing international situation.
An old African proverb goes that "With a source, a river runs deep." The mutual support shared by China and Africa and their joint efforts to seek common development in the past more than half a century constitute the historical source of China's present view of Africa.
Through Premier Li's visit, more and more African countries and people will profoundly realize that China respects Africa's history, culture and civilization, deems Africa as a continent of hope and development, and believes that Africa is an important pole of the current changing and multi-polarized world.
WORLD'S PERCEPTION OF CHINA-AFRICA RELATIONS
Given historical connections and practical foundation, China, the world's largest developing country, and Africa, a continent mainly composed of developing countries, have unquestionably formed a community of shared destiny seeking common development as well as mutually beneficial and win-win results.
However, a small number of people in the West and even in Africa hold prejudices against China-Africa cooperation, accusing China of pursuing "neo-colonialism" and plundering Africa's natural resources. These people should be objective and rational when viewing China-Africa cooperation.
Regarding the nature of China-Africa cooperation, the viewpoints held by African countries and peoples are the most convincing.
"China helps Africa to develop" is the topic of an article recently published on The Huffington Post written by Zambian economist Dambisa Moyo, in which she discussed China-Africa cooperation.
"Chinese trade flows are not only a welcome investment in the global growth and poverty reduction agenda, but they can also play an enormous impact in staving off civil unrest and instability by creating local job opportunities" for the world's developing and emerging economies including African countries, said Moyo, a former Goldman Sachs banker and employee of the World Bank.
China's worldwide infrastructure build-out "has delivered the full complement of roads, ports, railways, airports and power stations; showing an eagerness to invest in infrastructure even where the private sector tends to be deterred due to relatively low return profile and project maturities that can run over 50 years," Moyo added.
He Wenping, a West-Asian and African studies researcher at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said the neo-colonialism rhetoric is on the wane in Africa, showing it lacks a solid foundation.
Liu, a former Chinese special envoy on African affairs, also refuted the accusation of "neo-colonialism", saying the term should be labeled on its inventors.
DREAM OF DEVELOPMENT FOR CHINA AND AFRICA
The ultimate goal of China-Africa cooperation is to improve people's livelihood and realize their respective "dream of development."
During his visit to Africa, Li is expected to sign many governmental cooperation agreements and commercial contracts with his host countries and the AU.
In Nigeria, Li will attend the 2014 World Economic Forum on Africa and address the summit. He will also discuss inclusive growth and increasing employment with leaders of the political, commercial, and academic circles in Africa.
"From the economic perspective, China-Africa cooperation brings China necessary resources for economic development and brings Africa inexpensive but nice products," said Li Zhibiao, a researcher with the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.
Chinese investment and loans partially resolve the shortage of funding for Africa's economic development and are conducive to increasing jobs in Africa, Li said.
Africa is an important external factor for the realization of the "Chinese Dream," as it is a key destination of China's products, equipment, technology and capital. A booming China is a reliable cooperation partner to Africa and a staunch supporter of Africa's "Dream of Development."
Following the principles of sincerity, friendship, mutual respect, equality and mutual benefit, as pointed out by Chinese President Xi Jinping during his visit to Africa in 2013, both sides are working hard to seek common development.
During Premier Li's visit, China and Africa will further implement the outcomes of President Xi's Africa visit and actively explore ways to upgrade their cooperation.
An "upgraded version" of China-Africa cooperation is taking shape with the help of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC), which is actively implementing major cooperation projects in six major fields, including poverty alleviation, industry, finance, culture, human resources development and security.
"Premier Li's Africa visit this time will further strengthen China-Africa relations and help steer their development in a greener, healthier and more sustainable direction," said Liu.