Malawi-China relationship is of mutual benefit – envoy

The People’s Republic of China has assured President Mrs. Joyce Banda’s administration of continuation in terms of infrastructural development despite the recent transition of power.

Chinese ambassador to Malawi, Pan Hejun,  made the assurance in interview with local radio, Capital FM’s Daybreak Malawi program.

The world’s second richest country which stunned economists and western governments with its impressive back-to-back economic growth in recent years, signed bilateral ties with Malawi in 2007 under the leadership of late Bingu wa Mutharika.

Coincidently, it is the incumbent leader Mrs. Banda who is credited for brokering the deal when she was the Foreign Affairs and International relations Minister.

Friends indeed: Malawi President Joyce Banda with Chinese Ambassador to Malawi Pan Hejin

Soon after the signing of the bilateral ties, the Chinese government went straight into business by bankrolling multimillion projects across the country.

Meanwhile, the death of Mutharika left most Malawians asking questions regarding the future of the vast Chinese investments in Malawi.

But during the interview, soft speaking Hejun told the radio that China’s relationship with Malawi is not based on personalities or individuals rather is between two governments.

He therefore reiterated his government’s commitment to help the new government in its efforts to improve the living standards of poor people.

Said Hejun: “The relationship between Malawi and China is at all time high and we very much support reforms president Mrs. Banda is undertaking and I want to assure her and all Malawians of our continued financial support in all sectors of the economy.”

Hejun further defended his country’s political system saying it has been able to lift hundreds of millions of Chinese citizens from poverty to prosperity within a period of 30 years.

According to United Nations Development Index outlook, the single party communist state lifted over 500 million of its citizens from abject poverty to middle class citizens, an achievement regarded by many prominent economists as remarkable and unprecedented. China has a bloodcurdling population of over 1.3 billion people but 10 percent of its citizens are still living in poverty according to the UN statistics.

Meanwhile, Hejun has since dispelled insinuation that his country is investing heavily in Malawi because it is targeting the country’s natural resources.

Added Hejun: “In the first place our political system is democratic and even more advanced than our western friends. When we talk of democracy don’t just look at elections, we believe democracy without basic food, no medical services, poor roads and housing infrastructure is nothing. That is why our political system values the well being of citizens and their freedoms.”

“I believe Malawi has capacity to develop within short time…on the other hand it’s not true that we are here for natural resources that is way out of context. What resources if I may ask? There is no oil or minerals here. Our relationship with Malawi is based on mutual benefit because we don’t regard ourselves as a donor but rather we are a development partner so we are on an equal footing.”

Among prominent projects that have seen light of day courtesy of the South-east Asian country include, the Karonga-Chitipa road, five star International Hotel and Conference center and state of the art National Assembly building in Lilongwe, University of Science and Technology in Thyolo among several others. Meanwhile, another multimillion dollar project of National stadium would commence soon.

Apart from Malawi, China has also invested billions of dollars in infrastructural developments in the African continent with countries rich in minerals and oil like Nigeria, Angola, South Africa, DRC and Equatorial Guinea among several others getting a lion’s share.

However, this has not gone down well with western governments that have contended that China’s generosity has resulted in breeding of political despots because of its deliberate policy of non-interference when it comes to internal political affairs.

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