South African President Jacob Zuma on Sunday lashed at certain Western countries for slandering China’s assistance to Africa as “new colonialism”.
China comes to Africa to help but not to colonize, Zuma said in an interview with Xinhua.
“China is working with us and is ready to sit down and discuss what it can do to help Africa,” Zuma said.
The South African president was speaking one day after the Johannesburg Summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) wrapped up.
At the summit, Chinese President Xi Jinping put forward a 10-point cooperation plan which covers all aspects of cooperation, be it industrialization, agriculture, energy, health or peace and security. The summit also adopted the Johannesburg Declaration and Action Plan which outlines specific steps to promote China-Africa cooperation.
“The announcement of 10-point plan gave sufficient evidence to us that China listens to what Africa is saying. Therefore, it didn’t come with its own thought-out ideas, it actually met the expectations to African leaders,” noted Zuma.
He refuted Western allegations that what China is doing now in Africa is similar to what colonizers did in the past-taking or robbing natural resources from Africa.
“No, no, no. Western countries had been in Africa for centuries to rob Africa’s resources. They should be admitting what they have done. Some (Western countries) are rich because of the resources they took from Africa. They never thought of helping Africa to develop,” Zuma said.
The Western countries deprived African countries of their political and economical power, in contrast, China is really helping Africa, Zuma said, adding that since China came to the continent, things have become better.
Zuma took the issue of security for an example, saying while some countries are doing everything to protect themselves, China provides tangible support to Africa, particularly to the long-envisioned African Standby Force designed by the African Union for peace missions.
Zuma went further to say that China’s military strength is not to start wars but is to stop wars and to protect the poor.