Billions pledged by China to Africa already delivered, Beijing says

Written By: Eric Biegon

Delegates attending the 14th Senior Officials Meeting of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation in Beijing. PICTURE/COURTESY

China is eager to forge a new cooperation model with Africa targeting projects that have a greater positive impact on people’s lives. The world’s second-largest power is particularly hoping for an opportunity to spearhead projects that generate millions of jobs, improve lives, promote the digital economy, alleviate poverty, and power both industrial and supply chains.

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This vision was shared during the 14th Senior Officials Meeting of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation in Beijing, bringing together representatives from African countries and top government and ruling party officials of China. It was in this high-level meeting that China disclosed that it had delivered almost three-quarters of the multi-million dollar pledge it made to Africa in 2018.

Chinese assistant minister of Foreign Affairs Deng Li noted that great progress has been registered since the China-Africa Cooperation held in Beijing, China in 2018 especially in terms of targeted projects.

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“Over 70 percent of the US$60 billion of financing support pledged by China at the Beijing Summit has been either delivered or appropriated.” He told the gathering

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In the two years since, Deng highlighted some of the achievements made such as “the construction of major projects, including the Maputo-Katembe Bridge in Mozambique, phase I of the Nairobi-Malaba railway in Kenya, and the 10th of Ramadan City railway project in Egypt.”

Former Chinese Ambassador to Kenya Wu Peng who is now the Director-General, Department of African Affairs, MFA, China, during the meeting. PICTURE/ COURTESY

These projects, according to Deng, are either completed or well underway, even as he expressed optimism that they will serve as a strong boost to local economic and social development in the continent.

He further pointed out that in the first ten months of this year alone, China-Africa trade reached US$150 billion. In his opinion, this volume of business is a clear indicator that China is on track to becoming Africa’s largest trading partner for the 12th year running.

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The Chinese senior government official further lauded what he termed as a flourishing cultural and people-to-people exchanges between China and Africa. As part of the highlight of this milestone, he acknowledged the inauguration of the China-Africa Institute.

“Four more Confucius Institutes and 11 Confucius Classrooms have been opened. Thirty-five cultural institutions from ten African countries have joined the Silk Road International League of Theaters, the International Alliance of Museums, the Network of Arts Festivals and the International Library Alliance.” He told the delegates.

To further ensure maximum benefits from the existing diplomatic relations between the two sides, he disclosed that 34 African countries have received Approved Destination Status for outbound Chinese tour groups.

“Last year, residents on the Chinese mainland made over 606,000 visits to Africa, and the number of sisters cities increased by 11 pairs, bringing the total number to 150. China-Africa traditional friendship has taken a deeper root in our people’s hearts.” He said

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He also revisited the decision by President Xi Jinping’s-led administration under the G20 Debt Service Suspension Initiative, where China signed debt suspension agreements with 12 African countries and decided to waive interest-free loans due to mature by 2020 for 15 African countries.

He cited this as a clear testament of China’s commitment to champion the development of a community with a shared future with Africa. Going forward, he said the two sides should continue to enhance their comprehensive strategic and cooperative partnership.

He spoke of the need “to jointly safeguard a favorable international environment for development in China and Africa, and deliver more benefits to the people in our countries.”

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