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China’s new foreign minister has started his new tenure by embarking on a weeklong trip to five African countries in which China is seeking to gain influence.

In an announcement from China’s Foreign Ministry, Minister Qing Gang will travel to Ethiopia, Gabon, Angola, Benin, and Egypt from January 9th to the 16th. Minister Gang will meet with senior-level officials in all countries and will hold a bilateral meeting with the secretary-general of the Arab League in Egypt.

Chinese Foreign Minister Qing Gang

While speaking to the press, Foreign ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said Minister Gang’s visit to Africa “shows that China attaches great importance to the traditional friendship with Africa and the development of China-Africa relations.” Wenbin noted that he did not want to provide too many details about the trip but confirmed that there would be trade and Chinese investment discussions.

Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesman Wang Wenbin

This comes as western allies have raised concerns about China using its funding of large infrastructure projects as a way to gain influence within African governments and the potential for African countries to fall into a “debt trap.” Once falling into the “trap,” China can negotiate terms to establish control over ports or even place military assets in a country. Despite these accusations, China maintains that its relations with Africa are “mutually beneficial.”


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