China and Tunisia establish “strategic partnership”

China and Tunisia establish “strategic partnership”
Image Credit: Hapelinium/Shutterstock

Tunisian President Kais Saied recently traveled to Beijing to mark 60 years of diplomatic relations with China. The establishment of a “strategic partnership” was announced following a meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping.

According to Xinhua, China is ready to deepen cooperation in infrastructure construction and new energy, medical and healthcare, green development, water resources, agriculture and more as part of its Belt and Road Initiative.  

The controversial program that seeks to link China to the rest of the world through investments and partnerships, lagged during the pandemic. But Chinese investment in Africa has rebounded. Reuters cites data from Griffith Asia Institute that shows Chinese investment in Africa rose 114% last year. 

China calls the Belt and Road Initiative win/win but the bulk of the investment has been focused on gaining access to the continent’s vast minerals needed to power the technology of the future and revive China’s growth, according to Reuters. Efforts to boost other African exports to China have stalled. The continent’s trade deficit with China ballooned 36 percent in 2023 to $65 billion, according to Chinese customs data published in February.  

The meeting between Xi and Saied comes as China seeks to unite the Global South against a world order China views as stacked in favor of the U.S. and its allies. It also comes at a time when Saied faces increasing condemnation for his crack-down on dissenting voices in Tunisia as it prepares for an election. 

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