China To Spent $60 Billion On Projects In Africa. West Is Concerned By Beijing’s Growing Influence

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China To Spent $60 Billion On Projects In Africa. West Is Concerned By Beijing's Growing Influence

FILE IMAGE: Xinhua/Li Ziheng

On September 3rd, China promised $60 billion worth of financing and aid to African countries. As reported by Reuters, Chinese President Xi Jinping offered the aid during the opening remarks of the China-Africa summit, held this week in Beijing. Several African leaders were in attendance.

The Chinese President 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. The $60 billion funding would match the financial package offered by China at the last summit in Johannesburg in 2015. In addition, he said China will encourage companies to invest at least $10 billion in Africa over the next three years.

Government debt from China’s interest free loans due by the end of 2018 will be written off for indebted poor African countries, as well as for developing nations in the continent’s interior and small island nations, Xi said. “China-Africa cooperation must give Chinese and African people tangible benefits and successes that can be seen, that can be felt,” he said.

There were no details provided for specific projects which will be invested in, although Xi said that China was planning initiatives in eight areas over the next three years. These areas included plans to establish a China-Africa trade expo, provide one billion reminbi ($146 million) in food aid, extra imports to China from Africa, and a push for green development. He also invited African leaders to assist his country in the Belt and Road Initiative, a trade and infrastructure project involving 68 countries.

Xi also said that there would be development that people on the continent could see and touch, but that would also be green and sustainable. He further said no to “vanity projects.”

“China’s cooperation with Africa is clearly targeted at the major bottlenecks to development. Resources for our cooperation are not to be spent on any vanity projects but in places where they count the most,” said Xi.

Africa has borrowed about $130 billion from China since 2000, with loans generally used to finance infrastructure projects. Earlier this year, the IMF warned that the African continent is facing a debt crisis, with 40% of low-income countries now in debt distress or at high risk of this.

China denied any accusations that it is engaging in “debt trap” diplomacy. China’s special envoy for Africa, Xu Jinghu said “if we take a closer look at these African countries that are heavily in debt, China is not their main creditor.” She further commented that “it’s senseless and baseless to shift the blame onto China for debt problems.”

She also said that China would carefully choose projects that avoid causing debt problems when implementing the funding.

“When we cooperate with African countries we will conscientiously and fully carry out feasibility studies, to choose which projects can go ahead. These projects will take into account their development prospects so as to help African countries achieve sustainable development and avoid debt or financial problems.”

The Chinese government is assisting African countries achieve development, not accumulate debt, Xu added. She described debt as a burden that accumulates over a long period of time.

“We need to take into account the fluctuations of the international economic situation which has raised the cost of financing for these African countries and most of them depend on exporting raw materials, the price of which on the international market has been falling,” she said.

The US has tried to limit China and is condemning it as the new colonizer of Africa. However China is attempting to show that it will rely more on trade with the continent, China’s former deputy commerce minister Wei Jianguo wrote on September 4th for the China Going Global Thinktank, cited by Reuters.

“I hope that in the next five years China-Africa economic and trade cooperation will overtake China-U.S. trade,” he said. “This is totally achievable.”

Another increase in Chinese influence is the construction of the Chinese military base in Djibouti. Negotiations for it started in 2015, they were finalized in January 2016 and the base was formally opened in August 2017. In late May 2018, the Chinese Ministry of National Defense confirmed that the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) is constructing additional pier facilities at its military base in the Horn of Africa country of Djibouti. The aim of the military base, as well as of the new facilities, according to Chinese defence ministry spokesman Ren Guoqiang is to allow for Beijing to “better fulfil China’s international responsibilities including anti-piracy work and to maintain the peace and stability of Africa and the world.”

All of this comes after recent reports of Russian military “expansion” in Africa. On August 27th, The Atlantic, Russian and Russia-linked private military contractors have made their way to Africa.

On August 2nd, three Russians who presented themselves as journalists, but arrived in the country as tourists, without press accreditation, were killed in the Central African Republic. They had arrived in the country to investigate reports of the presence of Russian paramilitary forces. Their employer was the Investigations Control Center, a body linked to exiled Russian tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky, who currently resides in Switzerland. According to him the journalists were working on an investigation with the Investigations Control Center “on an investigation into Russian mercenaries, in particular the Wagner group.”

Russia and the Central African Republic signed a contract on August 21st for Moscow to step up training for the African country’s armed forces. Russia delivered light arms to the Central African Republic’s security forces in earlier 2018 and said it had deployed 175 military and civilian instructors to train them.

The increase in Chinese and Russian presence in Africa may indicate a joint effort by Beijing and Moscow to increase their influence in the region.

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  • Sinbad2

    The wests attitude to Africa is to invade, steal as much as they can carry and leave.
    Libya and Mali are 2 examples of how the west pillages Africa.
    China builds roads railways hospitals and schools, so of course the African people welcome China.
    Western claims that Africa is theirs to pillage, just don’t cut it anymore.

    • occupybacon

      China is exploiting their own children and they went to Africa to care of the little negroes there.

  • Barba_Papa

    If it tries to counter China the West is seriously handicapped that A: it cannot match what China offers, both in money, and in engineering on the ground, B: unlike the West China does not care about human rights transgressions by African countries, C: China has no history with Africa as a colonizer, or post decolonization enforcer like France, and D: the US can’t offer jack shit economically to Africa, only sanctions and military interventions.

    • alejoeisabel

      Every country in the world engages in transgressions against its own people. The United States which has more people of African descent in US prisons, over 1,000,000, hypocritically speaks of human rights. The only ones who speak of human rights violations in Africa are the former slave trading countries. What China offers Africa, sixty billion dollars in aide, is what the US spends in war in one month. That is the difference between the US/Nato and China.

    • Bobby Twoshoes

      You’re seriously saying the west “cares” about human rights? Is that why we’re so tough on Saudi Arabia? A better wording might be: B: China doesn’t cynically use empty, subjective terms such as “human rights violations” to justify a disrespectful negotiating stance.

      • Barba_Papa

        I agree with you on Saudi Arabia. But then again the Saudis basically own Western governments through the sheer amounts of cash they can wield. Not to mention that they made an example out of Canada recently to show other Western countries what will happen when they start to criticize them. African countries do not have that kind of cloud.

        And let us not forget that since the 1960’s there’s a shitload of Western grassroots NGO’s that are active in Africa (and other 3rd world countries). NGO’s which put a lot of onus on those countries and the abuses and corruption that happens there. Which in turn puts a lot of pressure on Western governments to at least make an issue of it. Almost none of those Western NGO’s are active in Saudi Arabia, so there is no spotlight being placed on Saudi human rights abuses, both from Western governments by themselves, nor from grass roots Western NGO’s. I daresay the only reason why the war in Yemen gets ANY attention in the Western press is because some Western grassroots NGO’s were active in that country.

  • Feudalism Victory

    I once read a ww3 scenario and it was chinese forces sinking carriers off the east coast of africa and capturing american expeditionary forces in the horn of africa. Seems more real now. American military presense in africa is high and the chinese navy is obviously around there now.

  • Peter Moy

    The business of China is business, not military intervention, threats, provocation, “regime change,” economic warfare (sanctions), enslavement or any other euphemism for exploitation. I’m sure many African leaders remember have a good memory of European contact with the continent in the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries. Besides the trade in human slaves, King Leopold’s Belgian Congo, the Namibian Genocide during Germany’s Second Reich (Kaiser Wilhelm II), the deaths of ~400,000 Africans in the service of the colonizers during the First World War and the slaughter of over 100,000 Algerians by the French who demonstrated for more human rights and independence after the end of World War II are just a few examples. So now many countries see China as a reliable partner for aid and development and not as a invader, butcher and occupier.

    • Brother Ma

      Just having a chuckle over how a country priding itself on social issues is now mainly concerned with “business”. Disgraceful really.

    • Kell McBanned

      China killed 100 000 000 of its own people not so long ago in the cultural revolution.

      Basically all Africas infrastructure was built by Western countries, not much else has been done since they left.

      Ill let a Chinese man speak of his experiances dealing with Africans, I suspect they may well have the same problems.

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mtsa0MT2H4I

      • Sinbad2

        You know that China killed 100 million of its own people, because the US/UK controlled media told you so. These same people told you Saddam had nukes, and killing half a million Iraqi children was necessary. They tell you Assad gasses his people, Vietnam was being invaded by China, Russia poisons people with weird poisons in Britain. And the biggest lie of all, the US had to nuke Japan, and it saved lives. The truth was the US had developed a new weapon, and wanted to test it on humans.

        You have to realize that most of the things you grew up believing about China and Russia are lies created to keep you scared, and willing to accept us invading nations and killing innocent people.
        Quite simply, we are the bad guys, not them.

  • Peter Jennings

    Africa does seem to be China’s pet project. The African continent and its people are ripe for development. Within a few generations, Africa could be transformed and not just by nature itself.

  • Bobby Twoshoes

    The barefaced hypocrisy of America at it’s finest! The country that was built on the bones of African slaves calls China colonialist because they want Africans to be wealthy enough to buy their goods. I shan’t shed a tear when karma comes for these vile barbarians.

  • Sinbad2

    The American ideal is a country like China sells stuff to America, the US pays them in dollars, and China deposits the money in US banks, just like the Saudis and Japanese do.
    Every dollar China spends building a road, is a dollar an American bank does not get back.

    • Kell McBanned

      China has a public central bank like we used to have with the Commowealth Bank, we dont have that anymore but they do which is why they are still growing.

      • Sinbad2

        It’s a bit deeper than that.
        The Chinese Government runs China and controls companies, for the benefit of the Chinese people.
        Australia has adopted the American method, where Government controls the people for the benefit of companies. The most powerful of those companies are the banks.

        During the great depression NSW was building the harbour bridge. The Government was short of money, and the bank demanded that the Government pay money owed to a British bank, rather than pay the wages of bridge workers. The Premier of NSW(Jack Lang) turned up at the bank, with a lot of police, and withdrew all of the Governments money from the bank, and stored it in a Government safe. The British Government had the Governor of NSW sack the NSW Premier.
        Not that much different to when the US/UK had the Governor General sack the Whitlam Government.

        Today, the Premier or Prime Minister would do exactly as the bank ordered.

  • Davki

    “West is concerned…” oh please. Everybody is concerned, not least Russia. In “the West”, it’s mostly the US and the former colonial powers France and Britain.

  • Brother Ma

    Debt trap diplomacy? America and the “West “concerned? Why ? Where were these concerned govs when they trapped the Southern European countries into such debt?

    Spare us the concern “Uncle Sam and assorted vassals” !

  • Kell McBanned

    Chinese man relates his experiances trying to work with Africans in Africa.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mtsa0MT2H4I

  • Kell McBanned

    Empire of Dust – a documentary about a Chinese company trying to build a road in Africa.
    https://youtu.be/1a-QpyF7rNc