Xi Jinping offers $60 bn Africa aid

Anna Jefferson
September 3, 2018

Xi offered the funding at the start of a two-day China-Africa summit that focused on his cherished Belt and Road initiative. "Resources for our cooperation are not to be spent on any vanity projects, but in places where they count the most".

China lent around $125bn to Africa between 2000 and 2016, according to data compiled by the China-Africa Research Initiative at Washington's Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies.

At the last three-yearly gathering in Johannesburg in 2015, Xi announced $60 billion of assistance and loans for Africa.

The opening ceremony followed a series of engagements by the President, including his meeting with some Nigerians living in China.

Just in late August, Chinese mining firm Nonferrous China Africa launched production work for its greenfield project in Chambishi town in Zambia's Copperbelt Province, which was hailed by Zambian President Edgar Lungu as an example of serious investment.

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Africa is growing in strategic importance for China, with the People's Liberation Army opening its first overseas naval base in Djibouti a year ago.

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.

Xi said China would set up a China-Africa peace and security fund and continue providing free military aid to the African Union. South Africa is the top destination of Chinese investment in Africa, with investments of more than $25bn in accumulative terms having accrued by June 2017.

Dr Moyo is head of a delegation which was attending the Seventh Ministerial Conference of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (Focac) which ended here yesterday.

The Beijing forum brings together leaders from China and more than 50 African countries.

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Meanwhile the exiled leader of the opposition in the Maldives, Mohamed Nasheed, has said China's actions in the Indian Ocean archipelago amounted to a "land grab" and "colonialism", with 80 per cent of its debt held by Beijing.

"We believe African people, instead of Western observers, know best what is most needed by the continent", the paper, which often reflects official thinking, said.

Speaking to a gathering of African leaders in Beijing, Xi said the figure includes $15 billion in grants, interest-free loans and concessional loans, $20 billion in credit lines, $10 billion for "development financing" and $5 billion to buy imports from Africa.

China would be happy to help Africa upgrade its customs and commodities inspection facilities and provide supplies and equipment to improve trade connectivity with the continent, the Chinese leader added.

President Cyril Ramaphosa is visiting China for the China- Africa Cooperation Summit and so far his visit has been described as a positive move that could result in job creation in South Africa. Deeply indebted Pakistan is also reportedly reconsidering some projects in the multi-billion dollar China-Pakistan Economic Corridor that is a key link in the BRI.

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