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China pledges another US$60bn to Africa as leaders meet in Beijing

03 September, 2018, 21:28 | Author: Lawrence Cooper
  • Government officials bid farewell to President Uhuru Kenyatta at JKIA as he departs for Beijing on Friday

Xi offered the funding at the start of a two-day China-Africa summit that focused on his cherished Belt and Road initiative.

Last month, Malaysian prime minister Mahathir Mohamad canceled more than $20 billion worth of planned Chinese infrastructure projects, saying he was concerned about paying for them.

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

"It's hard to think of any country in Africa that has not been touched by China", he said, adding that China rejects the claim of "debt-trap diplomacy".

China will this week host a forum where development projects for the next three years will be discussed.

The summit, scheduled for September 3-4, aims to build a closer China-Africa community with a shared future, further dovetail China's Belt and Road Initiative with African development, set a new path for a higher level of China-Africa cooperation, and deepen people-to-people exchanges.

When FOCAC last met in 2015, African leaders and those in China set a goal to double trade to $400 billion by 2020.

China is on a quest to become the world's economic superpower and Africa will be its gateway into infrastructure development investment deals.

China will also expand its imports from Africa, especially for non-resources products, and will facilitate African financial institutions' bond issuances in China, Xi added.

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He pointed out that energy, transport, telecommunications and tapping cross-border water resources would be on China's radar in the next phase of Africa's infrastructural forays.

And when they return to their poor and mismanaged African countries, they will be talking as if they have found the keys to heaven, bilateral, trade and investment nonsense, not knowing that they are just further mortgaging their people and country. China welcomes Africa's participation in the Silk Road International League of Theaters, the Silk Road International Museum Alliance and the Network of Silk Road Art Festivals.

Africa has long embraced Chinese investment, helping make Beijing the continent's largest trading partner for the past decade.

African Union Commissioner for Trade and Industry Albert Muchanga will take stock of the infrastructure development, industrialisation and peace and development programmes, and agree on the priorities for the coming years.

South African president Cyril Ramaphosa is now on a visit to China. Chinese funds are not for "vanity projects" in Africa but are to build infrastructure that can remove development bottlenecks, he said.

"Given the complex and changing worldwide situation and the development of individual countries, China-Africa wisdom and solutions that can be helpful to global governance are expected from the summit", Li Dan said.

China has denied it is engaged in debt trap diplomacy and Chinese state media have argued that concerns raised in Western media and by politicians are nothing but sour grapes.

The country meant to bring 200 young Africans to China for a skills exchange programme. "We hope the ICC can prudently handle the relevant issue", Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying told reporters.

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