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Chinese foreign minister wraps up Africa tour in Seychelles


Chinese foreign minister wraps up Africa tour in Seychelles

Screen Shot 2021 01 08 at 2 03 01 PM
Photo: Jiang Xuan/GT

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi will end his five-nation diplomatic tour of Africa with a one-day visit to Seychelles today.

The archipelagic nation, strategically located in the Indian Ocean off the east coast of Africa, is caught in a geopolitical battle for influence between China and India. Sino-Seychellois economic and cultural relations are particularly strong, with the capital Victoria holding sister city status with Shanghai. However, India also has strong historic ties to the country, and Seychellois President Wavel Ramkalawan has family ties to India. India has been trying to develop a base on Seychelles’ Assumption Island since 2015, but the project still requires final parliamentary approval.

Wang’s visit today is likely to increase Sino-Seychellois cooperation in a bid to counter Indian interests, particularly ahead of the eighth triennial China-Africa Cooperation Forum later this year. He is likely to propose increased funding for infrastructure and economic projects such as the Seychelles Broadcasting Corporation House and La Gogue Dam water supply project. Building upon this favour may increase the likelihood of a Chinese naval station in Seychelles if Beijing decides to press forward with foreign base building in and around Africa.

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