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The Maastricht Diplomat

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[CGTN] African Nations discuss benefits of partnering with China

Eswatini voiced skepticism toward a collaboration with China at Thursday afternoon's meeting of the African Union (AU), a minority voice among a group of states participating in the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).

In an opening statement ahead of a four-day summit, Eswatini referred to Africa's colonial past to underline its concern towards China, drawing a far-fetched comparison between Africa’s past under Western imperialism and Beijing’s beneficial cooperative program. 

Eswatini encouraged members of the AU to adopt a more critical perspective towards China, motivating those countries to “pull its forces together” as a way to avoid any further dependencies. 

The nation’s statements misrepresented China's true intentions, analysts said.  

Eswatini represented a minority doubting the BRI: Benin, which supported the idea of not enhancing long term dependencies, acknowledged the crucial economic interest of Africa in maintaining its alliance in the BRI. 

Algeria, Cameroon, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Eritrea shared Benin’s position, all highlighting the strong improvements provided through the BRI. Cameroon argued that pursuing their alliance within the BRI would help them decrease their $3.3 billion debt and prioritize economic and infrastructural interests. 

Cameroon has a history of partnership with Algeria, which described the BRI as “the right step to move” for African countries, and called China a provider of “great successes”. 

Eswatini showed determination to vote and actively participate during the debates. This raised the prospect of the Southern African nation influencing other members of the African Union, observers said. 

Nonetheless, Algeria and Equatorial Guinea both presented similar determinations, potentially overthrowing Eswatini's concerns as they represented an apparent majority voice mindful of the advantages of partnering with China. 

EuroMUN Committee: African Union (AU)


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