China pledges $60 billion in development support for Africa

Chinese leader told African presidents that his country would provide $60 billion to fund development on the continent.

Chinese President Xi Jinping (L) and South African President Jacob Zuma (R) shake hands before a press conference at the Union Buildings in Pretoria on December 2, 2015. PHOTO | KAREL PRINSLOO | AFP

BY PETER DUBE in Pretoria

IN SUMMARY

  • He made the announcement when he addressed delegates at the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) in Sandton, Johannesburg.
  • The two-day summit comes to a close on Saturday with business and political delegates from African countries and China expected to discuss ways to develop mutual relationships for the future.

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China President Xi Jinping on Friday announced his country would assist African states with loans to the tune of $60 billion.

He made the announcement when he addressed delegates at the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) in Sandton, Johannesburg.

"China decides to provide a total of $60 billion of funding support that includes $5 billion of grants in zero interest loans and $35 billion in preferential facility and export credit loans and concessional loans," President Xi said.

The two-day summit comes to a close on Saturday with business and political delegates from African countries and China expected to discuss ways to develop mutual relationships for the future.

The forum is themed; Africa-China Progressing Together: Win-Win Cooperation for Common Development.

It is expected to adopt the Johannesburg Declaration and Action Plan, which will outline measures aimed at consolidating the partnership between Africa and China.

FOCAC has been described as a milestone and historic event, which will usher in a new era for the development of China–Africa relations, especially on the economic front.

South Africa's International Relations and Cooperation minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane said the event will help China and Africa introspect on the future of their relations.

Diplomatic relations

“It is a realisation that the people of the south, working together, we can do much more,” she said.

FOCAC was established in 2000 as a multilateral platform for cooperation between China and African countries that have formal diplomatic relations with Beijing.

It covers various aspects of politics, trade, economy, society and culture.

Through FOCAC, trade volumes between China and Africa have soared from $10 million to $220 billion in 15 years.

During the same period, China’s direct investment in Africa has sharply increased from $500 million to $30 billion.

There are more than 3,000 Chinese companies running their businesses in Africa, according to official statistics.

MTN fine

There are media reports that South African President Jacob Zuma and his Nigerian counterpart Muhammadu Buhari may take time off to discuss a hefty fine that Abuja has imposed on mobile phone operator MTN.

Abuja wants the South African telecom giant to pay $5 billion fine for failure to disconnect hundreds of unregistered subscribers from its platform.

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