China announces ‘no strings attached’ $60 bn kitty for Africa

Chinese President Xi Jinping said on Monday that his country’s investments in Africa have “no political strings attached” and pledged $60bn in financial support to nations on the continent.

Speaking at the start of a two-day Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) in Beijing, Mr. Xi also offered to write off Chinese debt for poorer African nations.

He said the $60bn figure included $15bn in grants, interest-free loans and concessional loans, a credit line of $20bn and $10bn for “development financing”.

“China’s investment in Africa comes with no political strings attached…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,” Xi said.

“China-Africa cooperation must give Chinese and African people tangible benefits and successes that can be seen, that can be felt,” he added.

He also promised that China will expand its imports of non-resources products from Africa.

Some economists have warned of “debt-trap diplomacy” and that Africa was going into unsustainable levels of debt with China.

The Asian economic powerhouse loaned $125bn to African nations from 2000 to 2016, according to data from the China-Africa Research Initiative at Washington’s Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies.

Many Africans, however, see China as a force for good on the continent and a healthy counterbalance to the West.

Swaziland, which was recently renamed eSawtini, is the only country without a representative at the FOCAC due to its diplomatic ties with Taiwan.

Farah Yussuf is a Digital Reporter with Star FM Kenya. He holds a bachelor of arts degree in journalism from Masinde Muliro University.

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