Museveni in Beijing for China-Africa meeting

Cyril Ramaphosa

Cyril Ramaphosa

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.

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.

China's growing clout in Africa is also drawing criticism that more African countries are getting caught in a Chinese debt trap.

China is willing to work with Africa to dovetail its Belt and Road Initiative with the Agenda 2063 of the African Union, the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development of the United Nations, as well as the development strategies of individual African countries to explore new opportunities and inject new impetus for Africa's development, Wang said.

She said the increase in exchanges of business people, students, academics and scientists between China and various African countries contributed towards the necessary skills development that would benefit the continent.

China will carry out 50 projects on green development and environmental protection in Africa, focusing on fighting climate change, desertification and wildlife protection, the Chinese leader said.

Xi said China would set up a China-Africa peace and security fund and that a total of 50 "security assistance" programs will be carried out, such as United Nations peacekeeping missions, fighting piracy and combating terrorism.

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We are still seeing the GFS bring this up to hurricane strength while the Euro tops this out at tropical storm strength. However, the weather service doesnt believe the tropical wave poses a threat to the region because its so disorganized.

But critics warn that the Chinese leader's pet project is burying some countries under massive debt.

Fourteen sub-forums and side events, covering various people-centered areas, will take place before and after the summit.

Meanwhile the exiled leader of the opposition in the Maldives, Mohamed Nasheed, has said China's actions in the Indian Ocean archipelago amounted to a "land grab" and "colonialism", with 80 per cent of its debt held by Beijing. China's investment in Africa is over $100 billion, more than 100 times that of 2000.

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.

China has established 54 Confucius Institutes and 27 Confucius classrooms in 41 African countries.

Jeremy Stevens, global economist for the Standard Bank Group, said many felt it would not be "politically appropriate" to pledge huge loans given concern that Africa is becoming overloaded with Chinese debt. Last year, China-Africa trade volume was $170 billion.

Sun Baohong, Chinese ambassador to Kenya, said late August that China has become one of the most favorable destinations for Kenyan students.

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