China pledges $60 billion to support Africa for development
China will provide 60 billion dollars funding support for Africa’s development, Chinese President Xi Jinping said Friday.
At the start of the summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) attended by President Uhuru Kenyatta and close to 40 other African leaders, President Xi outlined a 10-point plan to boost China-Africa cooperation.
The support package includes grants, interest-free loans, preferential financing, export credit lines and concessional loans.
“We will implement the 10-point plan with Africa in the next three years,” President Xi said during the Johannesburg FOCAC summit which he is co-chairing with South African President Jacob Zuma.
He said the $60 billion support is meant to ensure that the plan is successfully implemented within the stipulated three-year period by addressing three issues holding back Africa’s development, namely: “inadequate infrastructure, lack of professional and skilled personnel and funding shortage.”
President Xi’s plan focused on support in industrialization, infrastructure development, financial support, agriculture, trade and investment, environmental conservation, health and peace building.
On industrialization, the Chinese President said his Government will actively promote industrial alignment and production capacity cooperation as well as encourage more Chinese enterprises to invest in Africa.
“We will build and upgrade a number of industrial parks, send advisors and senior Government experts to Africa. We also put up regional vocational centres to boost capacity building,” President Xi said.
He disclosed that China will also provide 40,000 technical training opportunities for Africans.
On infrastructure, President Xi said his Government will step up mutual beneficial cooperation with Africa in infrastructure planning, designing, construction, operation and maintenance.
“We support the active participation of Chinese enterprises in Africa’s infrastructure development in areas such as railways, roads, regional aviation, ports, electricity and telecommunications to enhance Africa’s capacity for sustainable development,’ he said.
The construction of the Standard Gauge Railway is one of the projects that has benefited from China’s support.
President Xi said China will also negotiate free-trade agreements with Africa to promote imports from the continent and support the agriculture industry to help create more local jobs.
The announcement comes at a time when China, which is Africa’s largest trading partner, is seeking to boost its approach to doing business in the region.
President Jacob Zuma welcomed China’s support to the continent, saying it would go a long way to bolster existing cordial ties.
“Our relationship with China stood the test the time and is destined to continue flourishing for many years to come,” President Zuma pointed out.
He added: “The strategic partnership between Africa and China is vital to achieve development goals.”
Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe, who is also the current African Union Chairman, also addressed the summit.
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