Commentary: Win-win infrastruactual project in deed, "concrete diplomacy" baloney unneeded

NAIROBI, Feb. 10 (Xinhua) -- A China-funded light railway, the first of its kind in east Africa, was inaugurated recently in Ethiopia's capital Addis Ababa amid warm applause from locals.

Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn hailed the project, saying it not only improves the local transportation, but also brings technology and skills to the country.

The 34 km electrified railway project, contracted by the China Railway Group Limited (CREC), once again demonstrated China's efforts to help African people live a better life. And it is another epitome of various China-funded infrastructure projects of win-win cooperation in the continent over the past decades.

China has long been helping Africa with infrastructure development and has completed 1,046 projects, including railways with a total length of 2,233 km and highways with a total length of 3,530 km in Africa, making tangible contributions to the improvement of living and working conditions in Africa.

Yet, some biased people in Western countries, most of which were former colonists in Africa in history, alertly see China as a "late comer" and a "rising contender." So they smear China's efforts to aid Africa and labeled them with "concrete diplomacy", "neocolonialism", etc.

Their old-style thinking only shows their poor knowledge about the real story of China-Africa cooperation.

Even some African officials blast the West's baloney about China-Africa cooperation. At a recentAfrican Union (AU) summit, Elham Mahmoud Ibrahim, commissioner for Infrastructure and Energy of the AU Commission, refuted accusations that infrastructure projects financed by China across the continent is a form of neocolonialism, saying such remarks are groundless.

"For colonialism, I think one is benefiting and the other is losing, but China-Africa cooperation can benefit both," Ibrahim said, adding that such cooperation is a win-win deal as Africa is developing its continent while China is just doing business.

"China is a critical player in modernizing Africa's economy. We have looked up to China to help us develop new highways dotting the African cities," said Robert Mugabe, Zimbabwean President and the newly-elected AU chairman.

In comparison with China's sincerity to help African people out of poverty and seek mutually-beneficiary cooperation in various sectors, the West should recall their notorious colonization in Africa, which lasted for hundreds of years dating back to the 15th century and is well-known to the world.

"When the West labels Chinese aid and infrastructural projects in Africa as neocolonial, it is a question of sour grapes," said Professor Munene Macharia, lecturer of international relations with Kenya-based United States International University.

China started to extend assistance to Africa more than half a century ago. China's business activities in Africa have since then greatly boosted local economies and infrastructure, created jobs and improved people's living conditions.

Two-way trade volume between China and Africa exceeded 200 billion U.S. dollars for the first time in 2013, and China has been Africa's largest trade partner for the past five years in a row.

What is more significant is that China not only facilitates Africa's development but also contributes to strengthening Africa's own capacity for development.

A report from the International Monetary Fund showed that Sino-African cooperation has contributed more than 20 percent to Africa's economic growth.

The time-honored cooperation between China and Africa also has constantly reinforced bilateral ties. China and African countries firmly support each other in issues concerning their core interests as well as major international and regional issues.

Infrastructure projects have laid a solid foundation for win-win cooperation between China and Africa, and the West's defamation could not have extra win.

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