• Chinese Premier Li Keqiang and Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn.

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang and Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn. (Photo : Reuters)

Following Chinese Premier Li Keqiang's African trip in 2014, the Global Times' He Wenping made it clear on Thursday that the "world's richest continent" is well within the scope of President Xi Jinping's highly publicized "One Belt, One Road" initiative.

He responded to the recent call from the former chief economist of the World Bank, Justin Yifu Lin, who cast a seed of doubt about Africa's position in President Xi's crosshairs by proposing that the continent should also benefit from China's grand project.

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Although an underpinning factor of the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road project--abbreviated as "One Belt, One Road"--is the combined potential of both to restore China's global prominence after glory was lost in a bygone era, He reminds readers that the benefits are reciprocal. Beijing understands that China does not exist in a vacuum, and therefore recognizes the substantial value of building upon key bilateral relations throughout the world.

For example, the European Union is China's largest trading partner, while the Middle East is China's largest trading partner in the oil sector.

Africa is not external to such integral relationships, evidenced by President Xi's visit to Africa in 2013. Since that time, Beijing has been working toward improving its engagement with African countries, as well as the interactions between the numerous nations within the continent.

The period since 2013 has seen the establishment of the Sino-African "community of common destiny," as well as proposals for the joint construction of railways, highways and regional aviation on African soil.

He asserts that the "same spirit" is shared by Africa and China, as the industrial development of the former holds a connection with the "industrial structure adjustment" of the latter.

As a reaffirmation of his sentiment, the author concludes with the news that Zhang Ming, special envoy of the Chinese government and vice foreign minister of China, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) document with Chair of the African Union Commission Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, on Tuesday.

The MOU forms the basis for the construction of railways, highways, airports and industrialization projects throughout the continent which will be undertaken by China in partnership with a number of African countries.