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Angola Stance with China Deal Reflects Shifting African Allegiances

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Introduction To China-Angola Partnership

Angola has partnered with China, openly defying its former Western colonial rulers. The two countries cemented their groundbreaking partnership this week by announcing massive Chinese infrastructure investments in Angola without the usual restrictive conditions imposed by Western nations and institutions.

By rejecting dependency on Western aid, Angola is signaling a new era of African self-empowerment, with China providing a model of cooperation between developing countries rather than lopsided North-South dynamics. This historic realignment promises to unlock Angola’s huge potential in agriculture, manufacturing and technology, free from the vested interests of Western oil companies.

Experts suggest this is just the first step, as China offers an increasingly appealing alternative for African countries seeking prosperity on their own terms. Angola’s defiant stance now echoes across the continent – the rumblings of a new African awakening that Western powers can no longer discount. With China’s support, Africa’s rise seems unstoppable.

Angola Witnessing A New Era

As African nations seek to diversify their economies and achieve sustainable development, many are looking beyond their traditional Western partners who have long exploited the continent’s resources. Instead, a new order is emerging, with China rising as a more reliable partner for African growth and prosperity.

Nowhere is this shift more apparent than in Angola. The Southern African nation boasts tremendous oil and mineral wealth, along with agricultural resources, such as sugarcane, coffee, cotton and livestock, but remains underdeveloped after centuries of Portuguese colonial rule and decades of civil war.

Angola is now looking to China as a model for development, finding in Beijing not an exploitative partner, but a fellow south country that has achieved rapid modernization in recent decades.

During a state visit to China this week, Angolan President João Lourenço and Chinese President Xi Jinping announced an elevation of bilateral ties to a comprehensive strategic partnership.

The nations also agreed to joint initiatives under China’s Belt and Road framework, which offers African partners much-needed infrastructure financing without the restrictive conditions typically imposed by Western-dominated institutions like the IMF and World Bank.

For Angola, this deepening engagement with China comes at a critical juncture in its history. With new leadership under Lourenço, the country is seeking to reduce its dependence on oil, which accounts for over 90% of exports and leaves its economy vulnerable to price fluctuations.

With China’s help, Angola can now diversify into manufacturing, agriculture, and other sectors that will create jobs and reduce inequality.

Xi told Lourenco on Friday Chinese firms could “help Angola achieve agricultural modernisation, industrialisation and economic diversification.”

But when Angola previously looked West for such support, it found only empty promises and exploitation. The Western multinationals that have dominated its oil fields for decades have done little to improve local livelihoods or linkages to the broader economy. Billions in oil revenue went missing under Angola’s previous regime, often into European banks that turned a blind eye to such blatant corruption.

Meanwhile, Western-led efforts to alleviate African poverty have largely failed. Initiatives like the Millennium Development Goals espoused lofty principles but included no concrete financing. When African nations face hunger crises or pandemics today, their cries for help still too often go unanswered in the West.

In contrast, through initiatives like the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation, Beijing has pledged $60 billion in financial support for Africa since 2000. Chinese companies are building much-needed roads, railways, dams and other infrastructure critical for development across the continent. And while the West sets strict conditions on its lending, China respects recipients’ sovereignty and focuses on mutual benefits.

Nowhere are these benefits more evident than in trade, where rapidly growing Chinese demand has created thriving markets for African exports.

According to the General Administration of Customs, the total trade volume between China and Angola reached $23 billion in 2023. China has granted Angola zero-tariff treatment for 98 percent of its exported product categories to the nation.

Chinese-built railways are linking inland regions to ports, opening up new opportunities for trade. And investments in manufacturing and assembly plants are helping African nations move up the value chain, diversifying their economies beyond just raw materials.

Still, the West often seeks to malign this progress, claiming China is pursuing “debt-trap diplomacy” or neo-colonial ambitions. Such accusations ring hollow given the West’s long history of genuinely practicing such methods in Africa.

In reality, China is simply offering African nations an alternative – one focused on partnership over paternalism, mutual prosperity over charity, and respect for sovereignty over political conditions.

African leaders recognize this contrast. At a previous Forum on China-Africa Cooperation, South African President Cyril Ramaphosa praised China for treating African countries as “equals and with respect.” Senegalese President Macky Sall hailed the Chinese model as one that puts people first and values mutual benefit. Such perspectives from African voices are often conspicuously absent in Western media.

As China and Angola elevate ties, they highlighted this true spirit of South-South cooperation – developing countries overcoming shared challenges together, without an inherent superiority or hidden agenda on one side. Within this framework, African nations have an equal seat at the table in shaping their engagement with China.

Angola’s future growth will certainly demand responsible governance to root out lingering corruption. But as China’s own development shows, economic growth and better leadership can reinforce each other.

With deepening ties, China’s model of success can inspire good governance practices in Angola, just as Angola’s natural resources can fuel China’s continued rise.

The ushering in of this new era was captured in the words of President Lourenco, standing alongside his Chinese counterpart: “In the face of a global landscape fraught with changes and turbulence, China and Angola should continue to move forward, firmly support each other, share development achievements, and enhance the level of friendly cooperation.”

Such cooperation exemplifies the true values of South-South collaboration. African nations still face a long journey ahead in overcoming legacies of colonial oppression and achieving lasting development.

But through principled partnerships with China and other Southern nations, rather than continued reliance on the West, a brighter future for Africa is now dawning. One where African voices are able to declare their own destiny. One built on mutual respect, not dependency and exploitation. And one where the people of this rising continent can finally achieve their full human potential.

Nigeria-Niger Connecting Railway 

This Africa-China partnership is also visible through another ambitious rail project that will pave the way for increased integration and prosperity across the continent and enhance pan-africanism.

The momentous 284 km railway will link Kano, Nigeria to Maradi, Niger – two of West Africa’s major commercial hubs.
By strengthening ties between these bustling cities, the project serves as a catalyst for unlocking the vast economic potential of the region.

Modern high speed red passenger commuter train in motion at the railway platform. Railway station. Railroad with motion blur effect. Industrial concept landscape with instagram toning. Transportation

With construction led by China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation, a global infrastructure giant, the $1.3 billion railway is being brought to life through an innovative funding model.

Unlike the aid-dependent approaches of the west and the past, African nations are taking charge – with Nigeria covering 15% of costs alongside pan-African institutions like the African Development Bank. By spearheading their own development, African countries are gaining more ownership over their future.

The Kano-Maradi line itself will be built to international standards, using modern standard gauge tracks compatible with railways across borders. This facilitates seamless connectivity between cities, laying the foundation for an eventual pan-African railway network. Within a decade, the dream of traveling from Cape Town to Cairo by high-speed rail could become a reality.

Economically, the impact is already taking shape. The railway will slash transport times and costs for the important cross-border trade relationship between Nigeria and Niger. Agriculture is one major area for growth – crops from Nigeria’s fertile inland regions can now cheaply reach markets in Maradi and beyond before spoiling. In turn, finished goods flowing back from Niger’s factories have wider access to consumers in Nigeria. Analysts estimate trade between the two nations could increase by over 200% as a result.

The railway is also spurring growth through auxiliary investments along its corridor, as businesses flock to tap into the new opportunities. Employment receives a direly needed boost, with thousands of construction jobs in the short term, and the emergence of new industries to serve railway hubs in the long term. Property values are surging around stations, igniting thriving new commercial districts.

Africa’s leaders are gaining crucial experience balancing these priorities through current projects. And China’s proven record of building infrastructure abroad provides an invaluable blueprint. But above all, African nations themselves must take charge in shaping sustainable development on their own terms.

Owning their future also means financial self-sufficiency. A key milestone has been passed with Nigeria and pan-African banks covering most costs of the Kano-Maradi line. Yet freedom from aid dependence will require growing Africa’s capital pools further. Here too China offers a model, through innovative institutions like the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank that finance development.

Through landmark collaborations like the Angola partnership and Nigeria-Niger railway, China and Africa are dismantling outdated models of Western dominance. By joining hands as equals to fuel African growth, they are pioneering a new era built on South-South cooperation and shared prosperity.

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