Buhari Participates In China-Africa Cooperation Forum

Cyril Ramaphosa

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".

Details were vague but the $60 billion included $15 billion in grants, interest-free loans and concessional loans, $20 billion in credit lines, and a $10 billion special fund for development financing.

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

President Xi reflected on China's support to Liberia's peace process, and promised to continue to stand up and support the country in multilateral institutions.

The president was speaking at the Forum on China Africa Trade relations in Beijing on Monday afternoon. He said that at all times, China's relationship with Africa was guided by the principles of "the principle of greater good and shared good faith" because the country valued sincerity and equality in cooperation. "Resources for our cooperation are not to be spent on any vanity projects, but in places where they count the most".

People-to-people cooperation is taking on a new look.

Nevertheless, he received a warm greeting from Xi, who told him he "welcomes Sudan's participation in the Belt and Road" and "opposes foreign interference in Sudan's internal affairs", Xinhua reported Sunday.

In his address earlier Xi said China committed to investing another $60 billion in Africa over the past three years following the successful implementation of a similar commitment since 2015 when South Africa hosted the forum in Johannesburg.

He announced that China would exempt some African nations from outstanding debts in the form of free Chinese government loans due by the end of 2018.

Belt and Road has been criticized by many global analysts and leaders for its debt-heavy structures that unfairly burden the Asian, European, and African nations receiving its funds.

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President Cyril Ramaphosa has defended the Chinese government's multi-billion-rand investments in Africa, saying the country is not trying to re-colonise countries on the continent.

There are more than 3,200 Chinese enterprises in Africa and many strategic projects have been carried out.

The United States is not losing in the game for supremacy in Africa to China; Africa is losing. "Our relationship with China does not come at expense of any other". Last year, China-Africa trade volume was $170 billion.

On green development, Xi said China will undertake 50 aid projects on green development, and ecological and environmental protection, with a focus on climate change, ocean, desertification prevention and control, and wildlife protection.

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.

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.

During the meeting, President Buhari had said he was not afraid of a free and fair election in 2019.

China would be happy to help Africa upgrade its customs and commodities inspection facilities and provide supplies and equipment to improve trade connectivity with the continent, the Chinese leader added.

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

Xi told African counterparts and business leaders Monday that China's investments on the continent have "no political strings attached", even as Beijing is increasingly criticised over its debt-heavy projects overseas. 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.

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