IOL News has published a report based on Eswatini being the only African country that has rejected Chinese money. As more than 40 African heads of state arrived at the China-Africa Cooperation summit on Monday, one figure stood out: $60 billion which is E923,091,000,000.00.
That’s how much additional funding Chinese President Xi Jinping promised the continent as the two-day summit got underway. And all of Africa is competing for it – except for one country which is our Kingdom, Eswatini an absolute monarchy previously known as Swaziland.
Our kingdom was absent from this week’s Africa summit and appears to have no plans of attending anytime soon. This might also be the fact that we had an ongoing Umhlanga ceremony and we still doing elections as well. Eswatini has been said to be the last African nation that still recognizes Taiwan as an independent country, much to the dismay of the Chinese leadership in Beijing that considers Taiwan to be a wayward province.
Its been reported that Eswatini Foreign Minister Mgwagwa Gamedze recently reemphasized the kingdom’s commitment to Taiwan, warning China that Beijing “must not play mind games because our relationship with Taiwan is over 50 years so we will not dump them … We have no desire to change camps since Taiwan has been good to us.”
China has halfheartedly rejected Eswatini’s criticism, with Beijing’s Africa envoy, Xu Jinghu, recently saying that “on this issue, we won’t exert any pressure. We’ll wait for the time to be right … I believe this day will come sooner or later.”
Its also been reported that The kingdom is now the only remaining African ally of Taiwan and belongs to an increasingly small pool of supporters worldwide, as China has stepped up international pressure to switch allegiances. When dealing with China and Taiwan, foreign countries have to choose between the two, as Beijing is refusing to establish diplomatic ties with nations that recognize Taiwan’s independence.
China has pushed aggressively into Africa over the past 10 years, surpassing the United States in total trade volume in 2009 and funding with loans of more than $86 billion for infrastructure and other projects across the continent between 2000 and 2014 – even before the latest offer in Beijing that would significantly increase annual lending. In many cases, China has tied those investments to political commitments.
Beijing denies using financial aid to persuade nations to cut ties with Taiwan, but the Dominican Republic said in May that it had switched allegiances to accept $3.1 billion in loans from China. Burkina Faso followed only days later. And after El Salvador severed ties to Taiwan in August, Taipei said the Central American country had previously asked for an “astronomical sum” in aid. More recently, major U.S. airlines bowed to Chinese demands to list Taiwan as part of China, amid the possibility of Chinese state-sanctioned boycotts.
Taiwan may regularly accuse China of using money to purchase loyalty, but to preserve the few international friends it still has, it has similarly invested into local infrastructure projects or established scholarships in Eswatini.