Xi announces $60bn financing for Africa

President Cyril Ramaphosa addresses a business breakfast in Beijing with business leaders

Xi Jinping to showcase BRI at China-Africa summit in Beijing

President Emmerson Mnangagwa has left for Beijing, China where he has been invited by his Chinese counterpart President Xi Jinping to attend the 7 Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) Summit.

Xi said the financing would be in the form of government help as well as investment and funding by institutions and companies. The money - to be spent over the next three years - comes on top of $60 billion Beijing offered in 2015. The discussions will also cover financing for the Western Bypass in Nairobi.

Xi did not say which countries China would extend debt relief to, but he noted they would be Africa's least developed, heavily indebted and poor as well as small island developing countries that have diplomatic relations with China.

Al Jazeera's Adrian Brown, reporting from Beijing, said economists and some worldwide financial institutions worry that Chinese loans are burying some countries under massive debt. "No one should deny the significant achievement of China-Africa cooperation based on their assumptions and speculation".

Rwandan President Paul Kagame, now the chair of the African Union, dismissed such concerns, saying talk of "debt traps" were attempts to discourage African-Chinese interactions.

"Africa is not a zero-sum game", Kagame said. "Our growing ties with China do not come at anyone's expense".

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa also rebuffed suggestions that China is taking advantage of the continent. China's investment in Africa is over $100 billion, more than 100 times that of 2000.

During his visit to Uganda in July Prime Minister Narendra Modi said India's partnership now includes implementation of 180 Lines of Credit worth about United States dollars 11 billion in over 40 African countries.

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Governments in the region have "fiscal discipline", said Tshabalala. "We want to provide young Africans with more training and job opportunities", he said.

"We are looking for economic co-operation to benefit within the framework of the China-Africa Focac platform".

"We are ready to make a greater contribution to support cultural diversity in the world", he said, citing as a target exchange programme in culture, arts, education sports, think tanks and media, focusing on young people to strengthen the bond between the people of China and Africa.

The huge endeavour brings much-needed infrastructure improvements to developing countries, while giving China destinations to unload its industrial overcapacity and facilities to stock up on raw materials. "In West Africa, there has already been state-led efforts to boost soybean production".

Data shows that China-Africa trade amounted to $170 billion in 2017, a 14.1 per cent increase upon the 2016 figures.

There will also be bilateral meetings on the sidelines of the summit.

This year marks the fifth anniversary of the China-proposed Belt and Road Initiative, with more African countries expressing their interest in joining the grand project.

There are more than 3,200 Chinese enterprises in Africa and many strategic projects have been carried out. Economic growth lacks robust drive, " Xi said in a speech. They are the most important and very expensive issues required.

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