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Beijing [China], January 20 (ANI): China's fortunes in Africa are changing with Beijing preoccupied with its slowing economy owning to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, trade war with the US and others factors, shifting its strategic priorities writes Sergio Restelli for the Inside Over.

China's African strategies are shifting as witnessed during the eighth edition of Forum of China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC). The summit at Dakar, Senegal in November last year unlike the two previous summits held under President Xi, was at the ministerial level and not at the Summit level. The last FOCAC meetings had witnessed a much higher presence of the African Heads of State or Governments, according to Inside Over.

Amidst the criticism of China for being a neo-colonial power in Africa and putting several African countries under a huge pile of debt, President Xi Jinping curtailed China's state-backed exposure to Africa.

Further, China is moving away from the infrastructure-based and loan-heavy approach to a newer approach which is still not clear and will become evident only in the coming years, writes Sergio Restelli for the Inside Over.

Xi Jinping, who has not left China since the pandemic began, delivered his FOCAC address via video link. A drastic change in the attendance levels at the latest summit has raised questions among scholars and analysts.

Earlier, the eighth edition of Forum of China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) was convened at Dakar, Senegal from November 29-30, 2021 under the theme "Deepen China-Africa Partnership and Promote Sustainable Development to Build a China-Africa Community with a Shared Future in the New Era", as reported by Inside Over.

FOCAC was established twenty years back as a forum to reinforce the relationship between China and Africa and uplift the relations to a new higher level.

China's relations with Africa have, since the formation of FOCAC, expanded massively in diverse sectors with frequent high-level visits between the two sides. The trade figures boomed to USD 187 billion and investments have soared to new levels of about USD 2.96 billion in 2020.

However, alongside, the relations have been marred by trade deficits and controversies related to debt-trap diplomacy such as the takeover by China of strategic assets in Africa in case of default of loan payments.

Beijing, over the last 20 years of FOCAC, has consistently increased funding for Africa's infrastructure. In 2006, China advanced USD 5 billion during President Hu Jintao era and the amount further doubled under President Xi with massive expansion in activities and projects under the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), writes Sergio Restelli for the Inside Over. (ANI)

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