Africa: Why China’s New Foreign Minister is Touring Africa

China’s new Foreign Minister Qin Gang is heading to five African countries, the Foreign Ministry announced. Gang was appointed China’s foreign minister on December 30th, replacing Wang Yi who was promoted to the political bureau of the ruling Communist Party in October.

In a statement published by the Chinese foreign ministry, Wenbin said the reason for the visit  to Africa “Is to deepen the China-Africa comprehensive strategic and cooperative partnership and boost friendly cooperation between China and Africa.”

Gang will visit Ethiopia, Gabon, Angola, Benin, Egypt, the African Union Headquarters, and the League of Arab States Headquarters upon invitation from January 9 to 16, 2023.

Prior to his new post, Gang served as an ambassador to the United States. Reflecting on his duties as a Chinese Ambassador to the U.S. he acknowledged that when he took up the position in 2021 the two countries had major challenges but has worked tirelessly during his tenure to implement the common understandings of the two Presidents while exploring the right way to get along for China and the U.S. in the new era.

“Going forward, I will continue to care about and support the growth of China-US relations, encourage dialogue, mutual understanding, and affinity between the two people’s work for mutual respect, peaceful coexistence, and win-win cooperation between our two countries, and make my due efforts for the well-being of the two peoples and for world peace, stability, and development,” he said.

China is predicted to overtake the U.S. as the most powerful country in the world by mid-century. China has over the years accelerated its investments in Africa, it is said to be the world’s largest bilateral creditor, having spent half a trillion dollars to finance more than 800 overseas development projects with many in Africa including Belt and Road Initiative. This initiative was launched in 2013 by president Xi Jinping with an aim to push to coordinate hundreds of billions of dollars in finance, investment, and trade to better connect its economic partners.

Gang’s visit with be the 33rd consecutive year that Africa has been the destination of Chinese foreign ministers’ annual first overseas visit.

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