NAIROBI: Nowadays, one can hardly travel around Africa without noticing the presence of Chinese nationals — regardless of whether they are tourists, businessmen, peacekeepers, staff members of medical teams, or employees of Chinese-owned enterprises. No matter which African country they are in, or what sort of occupation they are engaged in, they are the practitioners of China’s Africa policy of sincerity, real results, affinity and good faith. As China approaches the center of the world stage, they are extending the olive branch of friendship to the African people and serving as a driving force behind Africa’s development and her dream of rejuvenation. China is a friend indeed in Africa’s fight against diseases and disasters. On Nov. 26, China’s naval hospital ship Peace Ark completed its maiden voyage around Africa and departed from the port of Dar es Salaam, the economic capital of Tanzania in East Africa. During its voyage that lasted nearly 100 days and covered 13,000 nautical miles (24,076 km), the Peace Ark provided medical treatment, including 246 surgeries, for 52,000 people in Djibouti, Sierra Leone, Gabon, the Republic of Congo, Angola, Mozambique and Tanzania. To many Africans, the Peace Ark is both a “ship of hope” and “a ship of friendship.” In mid-August, sustained torrential rains pounded Freetown, the capital of Sierra Leone in West Africa, triggering landslides that claimed the lives of more than 1,000 people. Immediately, local Chinese businesses formed the first foreign rescue team that arrived at the scene. A group of Chinese military medical experts stationed in Sierra Leone followed quickly in rescue missions, providing treatment and taking preventive measures to cut off infectious diseases. China is also Africa’s partner in maintaining peace and stability. On Aug. 1, Chinese troops formally entered the military support base in Djibouti, a country in the Horn of Africa. As China’s first overseas support base, it facilitates the Chinese military’s humanitarian aid and escort missions in the Gulf of Aden and waters off Somalia. In South Sudan, Mali and the Democratic Republic of Congo, Chinese blue helmets are among the most welcome. Besides fulfilling their missions mandated by the United Nations, they are also doing their best to help local residents solve problems. “China, good!” the Chinese peacekeepers are often greeted with such kind remarks by the local people. To African countries endeavoring to realize social and economic growth, China is also partner that not only gives a fish, but also teaches one how to fish. At the end of May, the Chinese-constructed railway connecting Kenya’s capital Nairobi and its eastern port city of Mombasa started operations. The electrified railway that utilizes full Chinese standards has greatly facilitated the travel of Kenyans living along it, having already carried 600,000 passengers with an average attendance rate of about 95 percent. On Nov. 2, West Africa’s largest hydropower dam was inaugurated in Soubre, Cote d’Ivoire. The Chinese-built power station sitting astride the Sassandra Rriver is a flagship project of the China-Africa infrastructure and industrial capacity cooperation. It serves to alleviate local power shortages and help create lots of jobs. Speaking at the 29th African Union summit in July, U.N. Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed called on African countries to harness the historic opportunity offered in China’s Road and Belt Initiative so as to push forward the integration process of the African continent. Ethiopia, which is churning out a miracle of economic growth on the African continent, has often been regarded as following a development path similar with that of China. Some other African countries, including Rwanda, Kenya, Uganda and Angola, are also increasingly turning their eyes to China. The African countries that study and learn from the “Chinese path” have generally done better in terms of economic growth than other African countries, says a Financial Times report. Executive Director of Africa Economic Research Consortium Lemma Senbet told Xinhua in a recent interview that China-Africa partnership has been framed around mutual respect and pursuit of common aspirations. The African countries can learn from China as they embark on economic diversification, regional integration and strengthening of political institutions, said Senbet. Proposed by Chinese President Xi Jinping in 2013, the Belt and Road Initiative aims to build trade and infrastructure networks connecting Asia with Europe and Africa on and beyond the ancient Silk Road routes. It comprises the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road, which is originally composed of one route spanning westward from China to Europe, and the other extending from the country’s eastern coastline down to the Indian Ocean. Published in Daily Times, December 26th 2017.