China's Xi Jinping says 'no strings attached' to Africa investments

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China will extend a total of 60 billion US dollars of financing to Africa, Chinese President Xi Jinping announced Monday.

Xi said the plan, for which Beijing has pledged $126 billion, would help provide more resources and facilities for Africa and would expand shared markets.

Breaking down the $60 billion China pledged to extend, Xi said $15 billion of those funds would be for aid, interest free and concessional loans, $20 billion would be set aside for as a new credit line, $10 billion for China-Africa development and five billion for imports.

"The debt that they have incurred in the form of interest-free Chinese government loans due to mature by the end of 2018, will be exempted".

The massive scheme is aimed at improving Chinese access to foreign markets and resources, and boosting Beijing's influence overseas.

South Africa's department of Trade and Industry and China's National Development and Reform Commission also pledged to cooperate on worldwide investment promotion for the African country's special economic zones and industrial parks, including a 4,600 MW coal-fired plant, a cement plant and other metallurgical projects. "Resources for our cooperation are not to be spent on any vanity projects, but in places where they count the most".

Mr Xi admitted there was a need to look at the commercial viability of some projects and make co-operation more viable.

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"During the High-Level Dialogue between Chinese and African Leaders and Business representatives on the margins of FOCAC, the Nigerian delegation is also expected to sign no fewer than 25 MOUs, including those proposed by the Nigerian Investment Promotion Commission (NIPC), Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), and Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (NACCIMA)".

"The future of China-Africa relations is going to depend entirely on how China manages this debt situation, which is now spiraling out of control", he added. China's exports to Africa grew by 2.7 per cent to $94.74 billion, while its imports rose by 32.8 per cent to $75.26 billion.

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". That has provided lucrative opportunities for Chinese businesses, while African nations are often happy to accept China's offers that come without demands for safeguards against corruption, waste and environmental damage.

As partners, China and Africa also aim to strengthen the Belt and Road Initiative, which advances infrastructure and boosts trade. "We are exporting to China what we extract from the earth".

China is on a quest to become the world's economic superpower and Africa will be its gateway into infrastructure development investment deals. South Africa is the top destination of Chinese investment in Africa, with investments of more than $25bn in accumulative terms having accrued by June 2017.

Liu said China-Africa people-to-people exchanges should pay special attention to the needs of young Africans since they account for a large percentage of the population and face challenges such as unemployment.

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