Chinese foreign minister to visit Tanzania

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi will today begin a two-day working trip to Tanzania. The visit is part of a

Chinese foreign minister

Photo: EPA/ EFE

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi will today begin a two-day working trip to Tanzania.

The visit is part of a five-nation Africa tour that will also see him visit Nigeria, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Botswana and Seychelles. Wang’s trip comes amid sub-Saharan Africa’s first recession in more than 25 years. His consultations will likely focus on preparations for the eighth triennial China-Africa Cooperation Forum (FOCAC) summit to be held in Senegal later this year.

Expect Wang to address priorities for the upcoming FOCAC summit, with vaccine cooperation, debt relief and economic recovery likely to top the agenda. The pandemic has battered African economies, further rendering them unable to borrow the funds necessary to spur a recovery and prompting vociferous pleas for debt forgiveness.

Wang will likely affirm China’s intent to distribute affordable vaccines and assuage concerns regarding significant African indebtedness to Beijing, but could also signal an end to the days of unconditional economic aid. The absence of Zimbabwe — a close and heavily indebted Chinese ally — from Wang’s itinerary is indicative of this shift. Moving forward, Beijing will likely curb funding for infrastructure projects as worries over debt sustainability increase, focusing instead on green investments following China’s zero-emission pledge.

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