Xi announces $60bn financing for Africa

Cyril Ramaphosa

The real victor in these partnerships is China which has invited leaders of the entire continent to attend the two-day Forum for Africa-China Cooperation, FOCAC, in Beijing on September 3-4, 2018. He said that at all times, China's relationship with Africa was guided by the principles of "the principle of greater good and shared good faith" because the country valued sincerity and equality in cooperation. "Resources for our cooperation are not to be spent on any vanity projects but in places where they count the most", he said.

Nevertheless, he received a warm greeting from Xi, who told him he "welcomes Sudan's participation in the Belt and Road" and "opposes foreign interference in Sudan's internal affairs", Xinhua reported Sunday.

A study by the Center for Global Development, a USA think-tank, found "serious concerns" about the sustainability of sovereign debt in eight Asian, European and African countries receiving Belt and Road funds. That has led to high debt risks in countries like Djibouti - where China recently opened its first overseas military base - and Zambia.

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa said the meeting in Beijing "refutes the view that a new colonialism is taking hold in Africa, as our detractors would have us believe". "Our growing ties with China do not come at anyone's expense", he told the summit.

In his address earlier Xi said China committed to investing another $60 billion in Africa over the past three years following the successful implementation of a similar commitment since 2015 when South Africa hosted the forum in Johannesburg.

But Rwandan President Paul Kagame, who now chairs the African Union, said that rather than viewing the investment as a "debt trap", other countries should be asking why they're not giving Africa as much assistance as China. Economic growth lacks robust drive, " Xi said in a speech.

"We have made a decision to open a China-Africa economic and trade expo in China to encourage Chinese companies to increase investment in Africa".

For two days in a row, every headline on the front page of the state-run People's Daily started with the words "Xi Jinping..." as the president met with the leaders of countries from Angola and Gabon to Mauritius and Senegal.


But the East African Community partner states are going to Beijing without a common position on a proposed EAC-China trade pact, for which China has been negotiating since 2016, and which Kenya has opposed.

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

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.

Nations across Africa are hoping that China's enthusiasm for infrastructure investment will help promote industrialization on the continent.

Xi said the partnership should "increase political and policy dialogue, enhance mutual understanding and support and boost coordination on major global and regional issues [to] enable us to uphold our common interests".

"The Forum, in which the Chinese and African leaders will exchange in-depth views on the development of China-Africa relations and global and regional issues of common concern, has President Cyril Ramaphosa of South Africa, as the African co-chair", Xiaoliang said. 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.

"We export to China what we extract from the earth and China imports to us what it makes from its factories", said Ramaphosa, describing uneven arrangement as limiting, given Africa's quest to extract full value from its natural resources.

"China's cooperation with Africa is clearly targeted at the major bottlenecks to development". Locals in other countries have complained about the practice of using Chinese labour for building projects and what are perceived as sweetheart deals for Chinese companies.

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