Chinese President Xi Jinping told African political and business leaders Monday that China’s investments on the continent are made with an eye on improving Africa’s development, and not mere “vanity projects.”
President Xi’s remarks at the opening of the triennial Forum on China-Africa Cooperation in Beijing were aimed at assuring the African representatives about his “Belt and Road” initiative, which lends lend billions of dollars to Asian and African countries to fund massive infrastructure projects.
Xi said 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 also defended his initiative against widespread criticism the massive debt would leave these countries beholden to Beijing.
“China’s investment in Africa comes with no political strings attached,” Xi told the group. “China does not interfere in Africa’s internal affairs and does not impose its own will on Africa.”
The Chinese president pledged $60 billion in new financing for the African continent during his speech, including $15 billion in grants, low-interest loans and interest-free loans, a $20 billion line of credit, $10 billion for development, and $5 billion to buy imports from Africa. Monday’s pledge comes on top of a similar pledge he made at the last China-Africa forum in 2015, which was held in South Africa.
China has made inroads on the African continent in recent years, striking numerous trade and infrastructure deals with several nations.