Xi calls for in­creased in­vest­ment in Sene­gal

Pres­i­dent of West African na­tion asks China for sup­port dur­ing Bei­jing visit

China Daily (Canada) - - CHINA - By ZHOU WA ZHAO YINAN

Pres­i­dent Xi Jin­ping said on Thurs­day that more Chi­nese com­pa­nies should in­vest in Sene­gal to help with the West African na­tion’s eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment.

He made the com­ments as Sene­galese Pres­i­dent Macky Sall vis­ited Bei­jing for talks on tight­en­ing co­op­er­a­tion be­tween the two coun­tries.

The two lead­ers vowed to en­hance co­op­er­a­tion in in­fra­struc­ture con­struc­tion, en­ergy, and tourism, as Sene­gal aims to be­come an emerg­ing econ­omy by 2017. The coun­try has set its sights on an an­nual eco­nomic growth rate of 7 to 8 per­cent.

In his first meet­ing with an African leader in 2014, Xi also said that Chi­naAfrica trade to­taled more than $200 bil­lion in 2013, and Chi­nese di­rect in­vest­ment in Africa grew 44 per­cent.

The num­ber has dou­bled from $100 bil­lion in 2008.

“That all stands wit­ness to the end­lessly re­newed vi­tal­ity of the Sino-African friend­ship, to the scale of the po­ten­tial for co­op­er­a­tion and the ex­cel­lent out­look for a new kind of Sino- African strate­gic part­ner­ship,” Xi told Sall.

Xi sug­gested China and Sene­gal should en­hance their co­op­er­a­tion in fields in­clud­ing eco­nom­ics and trade, in­fra­struc­ture con­struc­tion, crop cul­ti­va­tion and man­u­fac­tur­ing, promis­ing to in­crease China’s im­ports of Sene­galese agri­cul­tural prod­ucts.

“Sene­gal at­taches strate­gic im­por­tance to China and has high ex­pec­ta­tions for bi­lat­eral co­op­er­a­tion. Sene­gal hopes to deepen po­lit­i­cal trust with China,” Sall said.

African coun­tries are im­ple­ment­ing a plan to de­velop new co­op­er­a­tive part­ner­ships, try­ing to es­tab­lish re­gional sta­bil­ity. They are push­ing for im­proved con­nec­tiv­ity with the out­side world and pur­su­ing fur­ther eco­nomic growth, and they hope to learn from China’s ex­pe­ri­ence of de­vel­op­ment, Sall said.

Hav­ing taken of­fice in March 2013, Sall is the first African leader to be in­vited to China by Xi this year.

He vis­ited China as Sene­gal’s prime min­is­ter in 2006, and he said he hoped to con­sol­i­date the ex­ist­ing “ex­cel­lent” re­la­tion­ship through his visit this time.

“Sall’s China visit has both po­lit­i­cal and eco­nomic mean­ing,” said He Wen­ping, a re­searcher on African stud­ies with the Chi­nese Academy of So­cial Sci­ences.

When Sene­gal de­cided to re­sume diplo­matic re­la­tions with China in 2005, it had al­ready rec­og­nized China’s im­por­tance to its strate­gic de­vel­op­ment, she said. As a new pres­i­dent, Sall needs to main­tain his coun­try’s ties with China and Bei­jing’s new lead­er­ship.

“African coun­tries have ex­pe­ri­enced rapid de­vel­op­ment in re­cent years, and Sene­gal hopes to boost its own eco­nomic growth through co­op­er­a­tion with China, so that it can play a leading role in eco­nomic growth in the re­gion,” He said.

In re­turn, bet­ter eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment will in­crease its po­lit­i­cal in­flu­ence over the re­gion, she added.

In an in­ter­view be­fore his China visit, Sall said co­op­er­a­tion with more com­pa­nies from China is vi­tal for job cre­ation and in­fra­struc­ture de­vel­op­ment.

Since the re­sump­tion of diplo­matic ties in 2005, re­la­tions be­tween China and Sene­gal have been par­tic­u­larly fruit­ful in the fields of in­fra­struc­ture, med­i­cal care and agri­cul­ture.

“The rel­a­tively ro­bust eco­nomic growth in emerg­ing coun­tries, in­clud­ing China, brings huge op­por­tu­ni­ties to other coun­tries. Sene­gal hopes to grab this chance,” said Jia Xi­udong, a se­nior re­search fel­low at the China In­sti­tute of In­ter­na­tional Stud­ies.

Africa and China have sim­i­lar his­to­ries, and so the Chi­nese story of eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment acts as a good role model for African na­tions, he said.

Apart from eco­nomic co­op­er­a­tion, Sall also told Xi that he wel­comes the cre­ation of a Chi­nese Cul­tural Cen­ter in his coun­try “as soon as pos­si­ble”.

Sall said ahead of his visit that there is a need to en­hance cul­tural co­op­er­a­tion be­tween the two na­tions. “Cul­ture, as one philoso­pher once said, is the al­pha and omega, it’s the be­gin­ning and the end of ev­ery­thing. In this area, we have a long his­tory with China,” Xin­hua News Agency quoted him as say­ing. Con­tact the writer at zhouwa@chi­nadaily.com.cn Xin­hua and AFP con­trib­uted to this story.

Macky Sall,

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