Published: Mon, September 03, 2018
Money | By Ethel Goodwin

China to invest over 60bn in Africa over 3 years

China to invest over 60bn in Africa over 3 years

African leaders and the chairman of the African Union (AU) will be in attendance, and the United Nations (UN) Secretary-General will be the esteemed guest, joined by 27 global and African groups as observers.

China's President Xi Jinping has offered $60bn in financial support to African countries and written off debt for poorer African nations. Trade between Africa and China in 2014 was at $220 billion.

Addressing businesspeople prior to the formal opening of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation, Xi said the "Belt and Road" initiative will expand markets. China's investments in Africa have also grown significantly.

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

Ross Anthony, director of the Centre for Chinese Studies at Stellenbosch University in South Africa, said there was much room for growth - and improvement - in cooperation between China and Africa.

No details were given on specific projects, although Xi said China was planning initiatives in eight areas, including providing $147 million in emergency food aid, sending 500 agricultural experts to Africa, and providing scholarships, vocational training and trade promotion opportunities.

China has become a major investment partner for South Africa in stimulating economic and social transformation and development.

Xi said Belt and Road complies with worldwide norms, and China "welcomes the participation of other capable and willing countries for mutually beneficial third-party cooperation".

UN Secretary-General António Guterres is due to attend it. Xi and Premier Li Keqiang were busy receiving African leaders and holding talks with them.

Chinese state-owned companies have aggressively pursued large investments in Africa, whose vast resources have helped fuel China's transformation into an economic powerhouse.

Analysts said China's pledges highlighted Africa's growing importance to Beijing as its trade war with Washington escalated.

"I also hope you will do more in staff training and bettering lives for the local people and will put more emphasis on the environment and resources", Xi said.

"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.

She said that, as a continent on the rise, Africa had a lot to learn from China and the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation provided a suitable platform for closer cooperation and shared experiences. Morocco and Tunisia have already eased visa restrictions.

"I call on African countries to make full use of the summit to strive for the well-being of the people of both China and Africa", Khaled said.

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