Published: Tue, September 04, 2018
Markets | By Terence Owen

Buhari Participates In China-Africa Cooperation Forum

Buhari Participates In China-Africa Cooperation Forum

Chinese President Xi Jinping (above, with Somalian President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed) pledged $60 billion (roughly €52 billion) in aid to African leaders during a major summit in Beijing on Monday as part of China's push to boost its influence overseas.

"Only the people of China and Africa have the right to comment on whether China-Africa cooperation is doing well", Xi said. "Resources for our cooperation are not to be spent on any vanity projects, but in places where they count the most".

The two-day China-Africa summit is expected to focus on Xi's cherished Belt and Road initiative, a global trade infrastructure program.

Belt and Road, Xi said, "is not a scheme to form an exclusive club or bloc against others".

A study by the Center for Global Development, a United States think-tank, found "serious concerns" about the sustainability of sovereign debt in eight Asian, European and African countries receiving Belt and Road funds.

Rwandan President Paul Kagame, now the chair of the African Union, said talks of "debt traps" were attempts to discourage African-Chinese interactions.

With all these developments, Africa Beyond Aid crusader Paul Kagame, President of Rwanda, maintains that "Africa is not a zero sum game". "Our growing relationships with China do not come at anyone's expense".

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.

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

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

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

Ramaphosa's comprehensive speech, coming after his summit co-chairperson and Chinese President Xi Jinping committed an additional $60 billion investment to Africa over the next three years, appeared to hit the right notes.

This year's edition is themed "China and Africa: Toward an Even Stronger Community with a Shared Future through Win-Win Cooperation".

China loaned around £97 billion ($125 billion) to the continent from 2000 to 2016, data from the China-Africa Research Initiative at Washington's Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies shows.

Ramaphosa said Africa should "seek inward investment that encourages industrial development".

Xi said the partnership should "increase political and policy dialogue, enhance mutual understanding and support and boost coordination on major global and regional issues [to] enable us to uphold our common interests". Deeply indebted Pakistan is also reportedly reconsidering some projects in the multi-billion dollar China-Pakistan Economic Corridor that is a key link in the BRI.

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.

President Cyril Ramaphosa is visiting China for the China- Africa Cooperation Summit and so far his visit has been described as a positive move that could result in job creation in South Africa. 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.

The cooperation between China and Africa was "a forward looking partnership" not concerned only with the current - but also the future - challenges, he said.

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