Solidifying Africa's ties with China

Uhuru in China for trade talks days after hosting UK PM Theresa May

The Forum on China-Africa Cooperation, opening Monday, brings together leaders from China and more than 50 African countries. Over the past five years, there were more than 100 activities on cultural exchanges and 200 cultural cooperation projects.

But in a staunch defence of his signature belt and road plan, Xi said China was not pursuing "political self-interest" in its investments in Africa.

China has pledged a $60 billion fund to bolster industry, counter hunger, and enhance security in Africa, a continent that has been chronically plagued by piracy and terrorism.

In his address earlier Xi said China committed to investing another $60 billion in Africa over the past three years following the successful implementation of a similar commitment since 2015 when South Africa hosted the forum in Johannesburg.

"I would expect African leaders to put on the table the opportunity that arises from building the African continent's manufacturing capability in a way that is in the best interests of the African continent but benefits china as well", Tshabalala said Saturday.

Ahead of the presidential address, Chinese officials had cited a 2017 study by McKinsey, a USA consulting firm, which had spotlighted that China has become Africa's most important and unrivalled economic partner. China defends continued lending to Africa on the grounds that the continent still needs debt-funded infrastructure development.

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.

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Chinese state-owned companies have aggressively pursued large investments across African continent, whose vast resources have helped fuel China's transformation into an economic powerhouse.

Apart from military aid to the African Union, Beijing will support countries in the Sahel region and others bordering the piracy-ridden Gulf of Aden and Gulf of Guinea.

Over the past 18 years, FOCAC has become a significant platform for collective dialogue between China and African countries and a leading mechanism for global ties with Africa and also South-South cooperation.

Abiy said China is a reliable friend in the course of Ethiopia's development, and China's precious assistance has always been crucial to his country's economic restructuring and achievements.

People-to-people cooperation is taking on a new look.

He spoke diplomatically against the trade imbalance between China and Africa and dismissed the opposing views that the partnership amounted to a new form of colonialism.

Speaking to a gathering of African leaders in Beijing, Xi said the figure includes $15 billion in grants, interest-free loans and concessional loans, $20 billion in credit lines, $10 billion for "development financing" and $5 billion to buy imports from Africa. At that event, China pledged support to Africa's development. Aside from Mauritius, no other African country has an Free Trade Agreement with China. "We hope the ICC can prudently handle the relevant issue", Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying told reporters.

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