China’s Xi says African investments come with ‘no strings’

Government officials bid farewell to President Uhuru Kenyatta at JKIA as he departs for Beijing on Friday

He said that the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation should "work to balance the structure of trade between Africa and China" and "we are pleased that China is open to this [proposal] and in fact encourages balanced trade so that we have a win-win outcome that benefits both the Chinese and the African people". Also promised are US$20 billion in credit lines, a US$10 billion fund for development financing and US$5 billion to finance imports from Africa.

He added that Africa's least developed, heavily indebted and poor countries will be exempt from debt they have incurred in the form of interest-free Chinese loans due to mature by the end of 2018.

President Yoweri Museveni was among several African heads of state who attended the opening ceremony of the summit.

Chinese President Xi Jinping speaks during the High-level Dialogue between Chinese and African Leaders and Business and Industry Representatives at the sixth China-Africa Entrepreneur Conference at the Beijing National Convention Center in Beijing, China September 3, 2018.

The Chinese President said: "China's cooperation with Africa is clearly targeted at the major bottlenecks to development". "No one should deny the significant achievement of China-Africa cooperation based on their assumptions and speculation".

China's outreach to Africa aims to build trade, investment and political ties with a continent often seen as overlooked by the USA and other Western nations.

But he added that China and Africa should work towards a more balanced trade relationship.

Ramaphosa noted that Africa exports its minerals to China while the Asian country exports to the continent what its factories produce.

"We have benefited a lot from China's support in our social and economic programs, and that has continued to strengthen the partnership between China and Rwanda", Kagame told the Chinese state-run People's Daily. "Resources for our cooperation are not to be spent on any vanity projects but in places where they count the most", he said.

Ramaphosa's comprehensive speech, coming after his summit co-chairperson and Chinese President Xi Jinping committed an additional $60 billion investment to Africa over the next three years, appeared to hit the right notes.

The president also said ECOWAS region accounts for some 30% of Africa's population and GDP.

Djibouti has become heavily dependent on Chinese financing after China opened its first overseas military base in the Horn of Africa country past year, a powerful signal of the continent's strategic importance to Beijing. A total of 50 security help programmes would be implemented, ranging from United Nations peacekeeping missions to fighting piracy, he said.

"China does not interfere in Africa's internal affairs and does not impose its own will on Africa", he said. A trade facilitation initiative to increase imports from Africa was also on the cards including 50,000 government scholarship and 50,000 training opportunities for seminars and workshops.

China is a trusted and committed partner in advancing Africa's vision, he said.

The absent leaders, according to checks by Africanews, are John Magufuli of Tanzania who is represented by Prime Minister; Pierre Nkurunziza of Burundi who is represented by his second vice-president; Joseph Kabila of the Democratic Republic of Congo who is represented by his Prime Minister; Isaias Afwerki of Eritrea, Abdul Aziz Bouteflika of Algeria and King Mswati of eSwatini (formerly Swaziland) who has no representation at all at the summit.

The interest in the forum is a result of China's growing influence on the African continent and proves the FOCAC has been pragmatic and efficient, analysts said.

"The seven or so special economic zones set up by Chinese actors in Africa have encountered a number of difficulties.so there is much scope for growth", Anthony said.

"But thus far, there has not been a systematic and widespread policy addressing this".

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