Xi Jinping announces USD 60 bn aid to Africa

Beijing: Amid growing concerns about rising debt distress in Africa, Chinese President Xi Jinping has announced a financial package of USD 60 billion aid, comprising investment and loans to the continent.

The announcement was made during the ongoing Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) summit, held between senior Chinese leaders and their African counterparts. The meeting was attended by the leaders of 53 African nations, CNN reported.

The aid package is the same amount China had announced at the 2015 FOCAC summit. This comes as Beijing is seeking to assert its dominance in Africa.

President Xi also announced more initiatives in Africa, during the two-day summit, such as a proposal to establish a China-Africa trade exhibition, provide one billion renminbi (USD 146 million) in food aid, pushing for extra imports to China from Africa and green development in the continent.

The Chinese President also pushed for African investment for his Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) and called for African business people to contribute in the trillion-dollar infrastructure project, the report said.

Since 2000, African countries have borrowed about USD 130 billion from China, with loans being used for financing infrastructural projects. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has warned earlier that the continent is facing a growing debt crisis, with 40 per cent of low-income countries being affected by it. China is now Africa’s largest trading partner and has leapfrogged France, India and the United States.

President Xi undertook a whirlwind African tour, making state visits to Senegal, Mauritius Rwanda and South Africa, underscoring Beijing’s growing importance in the region.

Last year, China had set up its first overseas military base in Djibouti. It has also made plans to establish such bases elsewhere across the world, with Pakistan likely being the second destination for the facility to come up.