China’s Xi offers $60 billion to Africa – but no to ‘vanity’ projects

Sierra Leone Telegraph: 3 September 2018:

African leaders have today been offered another financial lifeline by China in the form of a $60 Billion funding package, aimed at strengthening China-Africa relations and economic partnership. But cynics see this new ‘chinese carrot’ as another sign of China’s neo-colonial strategy to control and enslave Africans.

How will Africa benefit from this new Chinese investment package, and at what cost?

This is a report by Reuters:

Chinese President Xi Jinping offered another $60 billion (£46.5 billion) in financing for Africa on Monday and wrote off some debt for poorer African nations, while warning against funds going towards “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.

Government debt from China’s interest free loans due by the end of 2018 will be written off for indebted poor African countries, as well as for developing nations in the continent’s interior and small island nations, Xi said.

“China-Africa cooperation must give Chinese and African people tangible benefits and successes that can be seen, that can be felt,” he said.

China will carry out 50 projects on green development and environmental protection in Africa, focussing on fighting climate change, desertification and wildlife protection, Xi said.

He pledged, without giving details, that China would set up a peace and security fund and a related forum, while continuing to provide free military assistance to the African Union.

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.

‘AFRICA KNOWS BEST’

Chinese officials say this year’s summit will strengthen Africa’s role in Xi’s Belt and Road initiative to link China by sea and land with Southeast and Central Asia, the Middle East, Europe and Africa through an infrastructure network modelled on the old Silk Road.

Xi said the plan, for which Beijing has pledged $126 billion, would help provide more resources and facilities for Africa and would expand shared markets.

China loaned around $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.

State media has accused the West of sour grapes over China’s prominent role in Africa and has angrily rejected claims of forcing African countries into a debt trap.

“In terms of cooperation with China, African countries know best,” widely read tabloid the Global Times wrote in an editorial on Monday.

“Western media deliberately portray Africans in misery for collaborating with China and they appear to have discovered big news by finding occasional complaints in the African media about Sino-Africa cooperation,” it said.

Every African country is represented at the business forum apart from eSwatini, self-ruled Taiwan’s last African ally that has so far rejected China’s overtures to ditch Taipei and recognise Beijing.

African presidents in attendance include South Africa’s Cyril Ramaphosa, Egypt’s Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, Zambia’s Edgar Lungu and Gabon’s Ali Bongo.

There are some controversial guests.

Sudan President Omar al-Bashir, who has been in power for nearly 30 years, is wanted by the International Criminal Court (ICC) for war crimes over killings and persecution in Sudan’s Darfur province between 2003 and 2008.

Xi told him on Sunday that “foreign forces” should not interfere in Sudan’s internal affairs, China’s Foreign Ministry said. China is not a party to the court.

“China has always had reservations about the International Criminal Court’s indictment and arrest order against Sudan’s president. We hope the ICC can prudently handle the relevant issue,” Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying told reporters.

This Reuters Report is by Ben Blanchard and Christian Shepherd, additional reporting by Michael Martina; Editing by Paul Tait, Darren Schuettler and Himani Sarkar.  

3 Comments

  1. I dont blame the West nor the Chinese for our present upheaval. With all the educated people we have in the country things aren’t turning round for the better. Our educated folks dont know that when you depend on importing everything you eat is creating economic meltdown?

    For example to establish cooking oil industry will not cost more than two million dollars and to establish milk industry that will produce many products for human consumption isn”t more than two million dollars. These projects will decrease the amount of foreign exchange we are using in terms of importation and will create job opportunities for skilled and unskilled people. You dont need to be an economist to know that.

    It is high time Africa take full responsibility for our present predicament than casting blame all the time on people who are fighting tooth and nail to develop their countries, while our politicians and senior government officers are filling their pockets.

    Sierra Leone doesn’t produce anything that will improve the economy. Likewise most Africa countries aren”t producing much that will develop the economy.

    To be frank, I am not expecting Africa to depend on Foreign Aid at this 21st Century, because lots has been said about the African Economy; and our politicians are not ready to change the situation. It is a shame to the continent that has everything and yet we are still asking for Foreign Aid.

    I like this english proverb that says: It isn”t the coat that matters, but the man in the coat. These people are making good use of whatever education they’ve achieved, thats why Psychologists believe our qualification is an opportunity for our success but not an achievement.

    Its your performance that will dictate your qualification but not the paper you”re holding. We have many Phds and Masters degree holders, but we are still struggling to make progress for our people.

  2. China has saved Africa from economic problems and disaster. The question now is whether China is really ready to broker a deal that can see Africa through. Is China really willing to handle the continent’s economic problems. Western style is off the target. African leaders must fight hard not to enter economic meltdown, as has happened in Sierra Leone.

    • It’s interesting you say that “China has saved Africa from economic problems and disaster” but believe it or not, China is doing quite the opposite. I have often said this, if any of the economic powers of the world spend one million in any African country, you must ask yourself, what are they taking in return and how will it affect future generations.

      My brother, you are probably aware of some of the deals China is making with Sierra Leone. Are the people of Sierra Leone not currently paying toll to China? How about the Mamamah Airport project, if agreed upon, China is looking to operate the airport for 30 years before handing it over to Sierra Leone.

      I hope you understand what’s in play here. Make no mistake about it, China is not doing these things for your benefit or because they care about you or Africa.

      China has already calculated the lifespan of the road and the airport. And they know clearly, once the agreed upon period of their operation is over, the toll road, airport etc… will require major structural repair to keep it in good operational condition. And they know for a fact (I believe you know this too) that Sierra Leone will not be able to cover the maintenance cost. You will have to strike another deal with them again to repair it. But infrastructure rehabilitation should be the list of your concern with the deals.

      Think of it this way, what’s the effect of slavery/colonialism/imperialism on Sierra Leone (or Africa as a whole)? Believe it or not, this is neo-colonialism and neo-slavery by China. This is colonialism and slavery by china because the western (America and Europe) already have you as slaves.

      Slavery was only abolished in the minds of Africans. Before all the western powers agreed to abolish the physical form of slavery, they had already discovered or developed a new and more powerful form of slavery, which is, mental slavery. The shackles may have been broken off your neck, hands, and feet but you are mentally shackled.

      America and other European nations have long enjoyed their domination of Africa, china who is now proven to be one of the world powers, want s their piece of the pie. Oh yes, their slice of the pie. This is why there’s trade war between America and China. And you will be a fool to think they are there to save you. Wake up Africa.

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