China Promises Africa Debt Relief as Xi Counters Aid Criticism


The absent leaders, according to checks by Africanews, are John Magufuli of Tanzania who is represented by Prime Minister; Pierre Nkurunziza of Burundi who is represented by his second vice-president; Joseph Kabila of the Democratic Republic of Congo who is represented by his Prime Minister; Isaias Afwerki of Eritrea, Abdul Aziz Bouteflika of Algeria and King Mswati of eSwatini (formerly Swaziland) who has no representation at all at the summit.

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

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.

Xi said China would increase cooperation with the continent, including expanding imports of products beyond resources.

"Western media deliberately portray Africans in misery for collaborating with China and they appear to have discovered big news by finding occasional complaints in the African media about Sino-Africa cooperation", it said.

President Xi said the initiative was not, "a scheme to form an exclusive club or bloc against others".

All but six of the over 40 African leaders and heads of state and government attended the 3rd Summit chaired by the Communist leader Xi Jinping to definitely tighten China's grip over Africa and to deepen Africa's dependency on China.

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.

There are more than 3,200 Chinese enterprises in Africa and many strategic projects have been carried out.

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China's outreach to Africa aims to build trade, investment and political ties with a continent often seen as overlooked by the US and other Western nations.

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

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.

Ramaphosa noted that Africa exports its minerals to China while the Asian country exports to the continent what its factories produce.

He said that limits the ability of African countries to get the full value out of their natural resources and create work for their people.

Chris Kiptoo, Principal Secretary for International Trade, said China already accounts for 25 per cent of Kenya's import bill under the current common external tariff structure of zero per cent, 10 per cent and 25 per cent for raw materials, intermediate goods and final goods respectively.

Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari will oversee the signing of a telecommunications deal backed by a $328-million loan facility from China's Exim bank during his visit, his office said.

China has provided aid to Africa since the Cold War, but Beijing's presence in the region has soared with its emergence as a global trading power.

Chinese state-owned companies have aggressively pursued large investments in Africa, whose vast resources have helped fuel China's transformation into an economic powerhouse. He said Xi has expressed his commitment to addressing the issue. 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. [Consultation Mechanism] As prescribed in the Program for China-Africa Cooperation in Economic and Social Development, adopted at the 2000 Ministerial Conference of FOCAC, China and Africa agreed to set up joint follow-up mechanisms to conduct regular evaluations on the implementation of the follow-up actions.