Chinese President Xi Jinping offered another $60 billion in financing for Africa on Monday and said Chinese companies will be encouraged to invest no less than $10 billion over the next three years, but he also warned against “vanity projects”.
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.
China has denied engaging in “debt trap” diplomacy, and Xi’s offer of more money comes after a pledge of another $60 billion at the previous summit in South Africa three years ago.
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.
Chinese companies will be encouraged to invest no less than $10 billion in the continent in the next three years, he said.
“China-Africa cooperation must give Chinese and African people tangible benefits and successes that can be seen, that can be felt,” Xi said.
Chinese officials have vowed to be more cautious to ensure projects are sustainable. China defends continued lending to Africa on the grounds that the continent still needs debt-funded infrastructure development.
Speaking earlier at a business forum, Xi said China had to be careful about where money was spent.
“China’s cooperation with Africa is clearly targeted at the major bottlenecks to development. Resources for our cooperation are not to be spent on any vanity projects but in places where they count the most,” he said.
Beijing has also fended off criticism it is only interested in resource extraction to feed its own booming economy, that the projects it funds have poor environmental safeguards, and that too many of the workers for them are flown in from China rather than using African labour.
Xi told business leaders Chinese firms in Africa had to be aware of their social responsibilities and make sure their investments served the community and improved their wellbeing.
“I hope that our entrepreneurs will act to fulfil social responsibilities and respect local culture and tradition,” he said.
“I also hope you will do more in staff training and bettering lives for the local people and will put more emphasis on the environment and resources,” Xi said. (Reuters)