China is building these three African parliaments ‘at no cost’

Zimbabwean president Emmerson Mnangagwa and Chinese premier Xi Jinping

China describes itself as the friend of Africa as it strategically offers a helping hand in the infrastructural development of the continent while it positions itself as a global superpower.

The Asian country has won the hearts of many African leaders and continental bodies with its several generous projects that have raised eyebrows among the international community and cynics who claim China’s interest in the continent is to overburden countries with debts to enable neo-colonisation.

China has emphasized on a win-win cooperation as it recently opened up its market to Africa and the world during the maiden China International Import Expo (CIIE) fair in Shanghai which was opened by Chinese President Xi Jinping.

Jinping said the fair is “a major policy for China to push for a new round of high-level opening-up and a major measure for China to take the initiative to open its market to the world.”

“All countries should be committed to opening up and oppose protectionism and unilateralism in a clear-cut stand,” he added during his keynote speech at the opening ceremony attended by a total of 172 countries, regions and international organizations from five continents.

Ahead of the fair, Rwandan president Paul Kagame launched Africa’s first Electronic World Trade Platform (eWTP) with the help of Chinese multinational technology conglomerate and the world’s largest e-commerce platform operator Alibaba Group to engage small businesses in electronic cross-border trade.

“Rwandan producers will be able to sell directly to a much larger set of customers than before while bypassing costly intermediaries. This improves productivity and profitability. There really are no downsides to doing business on a global scale,” Kagame said recently at the launch in Kigali.

He added that Rwanda values its relationship with the Chinese private sector and focuses on mutual benefit to improve productivity and profitability for Rwandans.

Among others, China built the $200 million African Union headquarters in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia in 2012 at no cost to the continental body. The Asian country also signed an agreement to build the headquarters of the West African regional bloc ECOWAS with a grant of $31.6 million.

China recently offered $6 million to Ethiopia to launch its first satellite into space in September 2019. It will also provide training before the launch of the satellite which will be done from China.

Senegal will open the world’s largest museum of black civilization on December 6 in the capital, Dakar, after 52 years of waiting due to lack of funding. China donated $34.6 million for the dream of the country’s first president, Leopold Sedar Senghor, to come to fruition.

China is also building the parliaments of these three African countries as a gift to them in the form of grants.

Zimbabwe’s new parliament building


Zimbabwe has started the construction of a new parliament building outside the capital Harare which will be fully funded by the Chinese government.


Zimbabwe has started the construction of a new parliament building outside the capital Harare which will be fully funded by the Chinese government.

President Emmerson Mnangagwa confirmed at a ceremony last week that China had provided a “grant, not a loan, to build a new parliament”, without giving a figure.
According to the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation, the new circular complex will be built over 32 months by the Shanghai Construction group at Mount Hampden, 18 kilometres northwest of Harare.

Other facilities including banks, hotels and a smart city will be built around the parliament building after completion, hints the president.

Republic of Congo president and Chinese officials after signing the agreement

Republic of Congo

The Republic of Congo is benefitting from a Chinese grant of about $60 million to build the country’s new parliament located in the capital Brazzaville.

Work started on the new edifice in May 2017 and it’s being constructed by the Chinese Jiangsu Provincial Construction Ltd. for a scheduled period of 40 months.

Opposition groups have kicked against the move saying China’s interest is in the country’s oil and timber the country has.

Burned down parliament of Gabon

China offered to rebuild the parliament of Gabon in 2017 after it was razed down during the 2016 election violence.

According to a local report, the Chinese authorities agreed to rebuild the edifice during a meeting held between President Ali Bongo Ondimba and vice-president of the standing committee of the National People’s Congress of China, Ji Bingxuan, during a two-day official visit to Gabon last year.

The cost of the renovation and the duration of work was not disclosed.

This article by Ismail Akwei was first published on

Published by Ismail Akwei

Ismail Akwei is an international journalist, digital media and communications professional, editor, writer, arts, culture and tourism advocate, human rights activist, pan-Africanist, tech enthusiast and history buff. He has worked with multinational media companies across Africa and has over a decade’s experience in journalism.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: