Xi announces $60bn financing for Africa

Uhuru in China for trade talks days after hosting UK PM Theresa May

Uhuru in China for trade talks days after hosting UK PM Theresa MaySource Facebook

A September 1, 2018 dispatch from Beijing China where President George Weah is now attending the 2018 Beijing Summit on China-Africa Cooperation says President Weah and Chinese President Xi Jinping have signed two cooperation agreements totaling US$54 million (320 million RMB) for the construction of two overpasses at SKD Boulevard and the Ministerial Complex, while the other is the provision of emergency food aid.

The summit themed "China and Africa: Towards an Even Stronger Community with a Shared Future through Win-Win Cooperation", is meant to link the Belt and Road Initiative with the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the AU's Agenda 2063 and individual countries' development plans. "Resources for our cooperation are not to be spent on any vanity projects, but in places where they count the most", Xi said.

Mr. Xi said 50 China-Africa security assistance programmes will be launched under the flagship Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).

A study by the Center for Global Development, a U.S. think-tank, found "serious concerns" about the sustainability of sovereign debt in eight Asian, European and African countries receiving Belt and Road funds.

For financing, China will nudge African countries to tap new multilateral lenders such as the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), the New Development Bank (NDB) of the emerging economies, as well as the Silk Road Fund marshalled by China.

But South African President Cyril Ramaphosa defended China's involvement on the continent, saying FOCAC "refutes the view that a new colonialism is taking hold in Africa as our detractors would have us believe". "Our relationship with China does not come at expense of any other".

The president says the relationship between China and Africa is premised on the fundamental right of the African people to determine their own future.

On trade facilitation, Xi said China will increase imports, especially non-resource products, from Africa and support African countries in participating in China International Import Expo.

Xi further announced that China will support the youth from Africa by offering them scholarships, training high calibre young people from the continent and launching Africa innovation centre and that of environment.

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Xi did not say which countries China would extend debt relief to, but he noted they would be Africa's least developed, heavily indebted and poor as well as small island developing countries that have diplomatic relations with China.

China has been Africa's biggest trading partner for the last nine years, with trade volume growing 14 per cent to US$170 billion last year. Dozens of African leaders met with Xi ahead of the conference.

The meeting will also review the progress of the outcomes of the Johannesburg summit, during which President Xi Jinping announced 10 major co-operation plans to promote industrialisation and agricultural modernisation in Africa. He said Xi has expressed his commitment to addressing the issue.

"China's investment in Africa comes with no political strings attached, " said Xi.

"This obviously limits ability African countries to extract full value of abundant natural resources and create work for its people".

"China does not interfere in Africa's internal affairs and does not impose its own will on Africa", he said.

The cooperation between China and Africa was "a forward looking partnership" not concerned only with the current - but also the future - challenges, he said.

On green development, Xi said China will undertake 50 aid projects on green development, and ecological and environmental protection, with a focus on climate change, ocean, desertification prevention and control, and wildlife protection.

Locals in other countries have complained about the practice of using Chinese labor for building projects and what are perceived as sweetheart deals for Chinese companies.

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