China’s Xi Jinping pledges $60 billion to help Africa solve its problems its own way

Xi Jinping (second from left) at the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation in Johannesburg.
Xi Jinping (second from left) at the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation in Johannesburg.
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Chinese president Xi Jinping has announced $60 billion for development projects in Africa over the next three years, calling for a “lift in China-Africa relations” to promote a mutually beneficial partnership. Xi was speaking at a China-Africa summit in Johannesburg, South Africa.

It’s a familiar routine. Since the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation began in 2000 with a summit held every three years, Chinese leaders have pledged funding and commitment to building a “win win” relationship with the continent. Critics say trade ties between China and African states mainly benefit Chinese businesses and investors. Tensions between workers and Chinese mangers as well as between African and Chinese migrants are also apparent.

Perhaps as a result of growing grievances, Beijing has more than doubled its financing pledges since 2006. This year observers wondered whether the pattern would continue given the country’s slowing economy. The promised funds include zero interest loans as well as export credits and concessional loans.

The pledge is another way that Beijing is making efforts to assuage African leaders that investment will continue. Xi also promised that China would train 200,000 African technicians, bringing some of them to China. “China and Africa share a common future. We Chinese and Africans have forged a profound friendship through our common historical experience and our common struggles,” Xi said.

He also sought to highlight China’s difference with Western partners, saying, “China supports the resolution of African issues by Africans in the African way.”