At the close of the 2018 China-Africa Forum for Cooperation (FOCAC) summit held in Beijing, the world’s second biggest economy announced that it had set up a new $60 billion) kitty meant for Africa’s development as part of a raft of new measures to strengthen Sino-Africa ties.
The latest recipient of China’s generosity is the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) block which is set to get a sparkling new headquarters building worth $31.6 million courtesy of China.
The search for critical consultants in the project have begun in earnest and to pave way for the project, the President of the ECOWAS Commission, Mr. Jean-Claude Brou and the Ambassador of China to Nigeria and ECOWAS, Mr. Zhou Pingjian recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) at the ECOWAS Commission headquarters, Abuja.
China also built and funded the headquarters of the African Union in Addis Ababa in 2012 at a cost of $200 million.
China hasn’t shied away either from coming to the rescue of African legislators by building them brand new chambers least they stay in the cold or ‘embarrass’ themselves by trying to fit in at small, stifling and old colonial era parliament buildings.
Here are seven African countries whose Parliament building stand tall today and others are under construction courtesy of Chinese Yuan.
China is currently building a new, $58m parliament for the Republic of Congo as a donation to the conflict-ridden but rich in mineral African nation.
Long-standing President Denis Sassou Nguesso launched construction of the building in the capital Brazzaville in May 2017.
The project was given to Chinese firm Jiangsu Provincial Construction, with completion scheduled in 40 months. The project is almost done and is expected to be completed in 2020 as planned.
“This project is helping to open the capital city to modernity”, and “remains one of the biggest cooperation projects carried out by China in sub-Saharan Africa in the form of a gift”, Jean-Jacques Bouya, Minister in charge of planning of the territory of the Congo said.
Zimbabwe's new 650-seater parliament
Before President Robert Mugabe was ousted, China presented the former head of state with a million-dollar gift: a new parliament.
The new parliament building, a donation from the Chinese government, was expected to be built in Mount Hampden about 17 km from the capital, Harare, at an expected cost of R2.1 billion.
In December 2018, President Emmerson Mnangagwa launched the construction of a new 650-seater parliament.
The imposing circular complex will be built over 32 months by the Shanghai Construction group at Mount Hampden, 18 kilometres (11 miles) north-west of Harare, the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation reported.
Malawi’s $40 million parliament
In December 2008, China provided a $40 million grant to Malawi for the construction of a national assembly building. Work was contracted to the Chinese company Anhui Foreign Economic Construction Group Co., Ltd; construction began in February 2009. The building has a 288-seat capacity, electronic voting, a press gallery, presidential suite, offices, a cabinet room, library, and CCTV security. Construction finished in May 2010 and the Parliament building was inaugurated that same month.
Guinea Bissau’s $18 million Parliament
In July of 2003, China committed US$18 million to build a new parliament building in Guinea-Bissau. Work on the project was scheduled to begin in August of that year and was expected to last 13 months.
Construction was concluded in March of 2005. A 2007 report however, stated that the cost of the building was only US$6 million, a fraction of the original commitment.
China has already built Guinea Bissau’s national stadium and a government palace. In 2017, China again said it would invest $184 million dollars into a 30 kilowatt biomass power plant in Guinea Bissau.
Lesotho’s 59 million yuan parliament
In June of 2007, the Chinese government agreed to fund the construction of a new parliament building in Maseru, the capital of Lesotho. The 59 million yuan contract was given to Shandong Yantai Construction Company. On June 27, 2012 the completed parliament building was handed over to the government of Lesotho.
China is currently rebuilding Gabon’s parliament.
In 2017, China agreed to rebuild the destroyed National Assembly of Gabon which was burnt in post-election crisis. Chinese authorities agreed to rebuild the edifice during a two-day official visit to the Central African country by vice-president of the standing committee of the National People’s Congress of China, Ji Bingxuan.
It is unknown whether the reconstruction will come at a cost or will be for free.
Sierra Leone’s parliament
China is currently renovating the parliament building in Sierra Leone.
The Chinese embassy has agreed to donate furniture and electronic devices, which are expected in Freetown, Sierra Leone’s capital, in January 2019.
“This is a friendship gesture from the government and people of China,” Ambassador Wu Peng told journalists and further stated that his embassy has also sponsored a water supply project to the Sierra Leone Parliament.
In February 2019, Sierra Leone’s Deputy Leader of Government Business, Hon. Mathew S. Nyuma, presented the gift which included 390 chairs for the Chamber, lower and upper galleries, 500 arm-chairs for committee and conference rooms, 10 office chairs, 6 executive chairs for the Leadership of Parliament, 52 chairs for the conference room at the new administrative building, 400 chairs for the State Hall, 150 microphones, speakers and other audio equipment for the Chamber, committee room 1, State Hall and the conference room at New Building, 2500 meter square of green and red carpet for offices of the Leadership, Members' Lounge and the Chamber, 50 multi-purpose tents, 2 air-conditioners, 4 laser jet printers, and 2 B & W photocopiers.