THE HAGUE, June 14 (Xinhua) -- The Netherlands Institute of International Relations in a paper Wednesday called on Western countries to actively participate in the multilateral fora set up by China when it comes to cooperation with Africa.
The paper, titled "How the U.S. lost: China's growing foothold in Africa," said "China is playing an increasingly important role in the world's economic affairs and development, not the least in Africa" while well-established traditional donors like the United States now have "no coherent vision for Africa and that U.S. prestige is in decline on the African continent."
A 2018 EY report that measures private investment in Africa was quoted, showing that China is ramping up the volume of financial investment in Africa.
"In 2016, China emerged as the leading job creator on the continent and the third largest investor as the number of Chinese-funded projects increased by 106 percent. Overseas financial flows from China into Africa have largely taken the form of development assistance through grants and loans."
"Underlying Chinese aid and investment in African states is the egalitarian nature of a 'win-win' cooperation under the auspices of 'South-South Cooperation' (SSC)," said the paper. "SSC can be defined as the pursuit of development objectives by enhancing countries' capacities through exchanges of knowledge, skills, resources and technical know-how, and through regional and inter-regional collective actions."
"China's policy encourages state entities and commercial ones alike to 'closely combine foreign aid, direct investment, service contracts, labor cooperation, foreign trade and export.' Beijing's adoption of this comprehensive strategy for Chinese investment and aid in Africa demonstrates the flexibility and adaptability that the country is capable of and proves that China is striving to find suitable solutions to global challenges," it added.
In contrast, the paper found that the United States is failing to spearhead Africa's economic growth and development.
"The U.S. has lacked an overarching strategic framework for foreign policy in Africa," it said, adding that the continent has never gained a prominent role in America's global strategy, and strategic interests in Africa have been regarded as secondary.
"To date, Washington is still struggling to find a balance in its foreign policy and to incorporate African priorities in its vision," said the paper.
The United States and the European Union should find new ways to reposition themselves strategically, the paper concluded.