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  • China billions for Africa come with a warning
    Date:2018-09-05 

    President Xi Jinping offered another US$60 billion (HK$468 billion) in financing for Africa and said mainland companies will be encouraged to invest no less than US$10 billion over the next three years, but he also warned against "vanity projects."

    Speaking at the opening of a summit with African leaders, Xi promised development that people on the continent could see and touch, but that would also be green and sustainable.

    China has denied engaging in "debt trap" diplomacy and Xi's offer of more money comes after a pledge of another US$60 billion at the previous summit in South Africa three years ago.

    Xi, addressing leaders at Beijing's Great Hall of the People, said the new US$60 billion will include US$15 billion of aid, interest-free loans and concessional loans, a credit line of US$20 billion, a US$10 billion special fund for China-Africa development and a US$5 billion special fund for imports from Africa.

    Chinese firms will also be encouraged to invest at least US$10 billion in Africa in the next three years.

    "China-Africa cooperation must give Chinese and African people tangible benefits and successes that can be seen, that can be felt," Xi said.

    Chinese officials have vowed to be more cautious to ensure projects are sustainable. China defends continued lending to Africa on the grounds that the continent still needs debt-funded infrastructure development.

    Speaking earlier at a business forum, Xi said China had to be careful about where money was spent. "China's cooperation with Africa is clearly targeted at the major bottlenecks to development. Resources for our cooperation are not to be spent on any vanity projects but in places where they count the most," he said.

    Beijing has also fended off criticism it is interested only in extracting resources to feed its economy, that the projects it funds have poor environmental safeguards, and that too many of workers are flown in from China rather than using African labor.

    Every African country is represented at the forum apart from eSwatini, Taiwan's last African ally that has so far rejected China's overtures to ditch Taipei.

    Presidents in attendance include South Africa's Cyril Ramaphosa and Egypt's Abdel Fattah al-Sisi.



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