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China puts $46 billion into Africa’s economy

LiXiaokun and Ren Qi
Updated: Jul 30,2016 2:08 PM     China Daily

Officials from both sides meet in Beijing to discuss achievements since December summit

Beijing’s cooperation with Africa has been dominated by commercial deals instead of aid in the past, with $46 billion in direct Chinese investment and commercial loans having been signed since December, officials said.

“At present, Chinese aid to Africa makes up only a very little part of our cooperation. ...Investment cooperation has been the main avenue of China-Africa cooperation,” Foreign Minister Wang Yi said on July 29.

Wang made the remarks to reporters on the sidelines of a meeting in Beijing on delivering what was agreed on at the Johannesburg Summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation.

More than 100 ministerial officials from China and Africa attended the meeting.

On July 28 alone, Wang said, companies from China and Africa signed 64 agreements worth about $19 billion at a seminar in Beijing on China-Africa business cooperation.

The deals included direct investment and commercial loans worth $16.7 billion, accounting for 85 percent of the total volume, Wang said.

In December, President Xi Jinping announced at the Johannesburg Summit in South Africa 10 major China-Africa cooperation plans for the next three years, backed by $60 billion, including interest free loans and lending with preferential terms.

After July 29’s meeting, Vice-Foreign Minister Zhang Ming said at a news conference that China and Africa have signed at least 243 cooperation agreements of various kinds worth $50.7 billion since the summit.

“Among these agreements, Chinese companies’ direct investment and commercial loans to Africa surpass $46 billion, accounting for 91 percent of the total volume,” he said.

President Xi sent a congratulatory letter to the meeting on July 29, saying that in the past six months, China and Africa have worked together to overcome the negative effects of the sluggish world economy and that they have made tangible achievements in implementing the agreements at the summit.

The current weak performance of the world economy brings opportunities and challenges for the economic development of China and Africa, President Xi said.

Anil Sooklal, South Africa’s coordinator on implementing agreements of the summit, said now the relationship between China and Africa is not one between donor and receiver but one between partners and equals.

“We must understand that the coordinator’s meeting is taking place at a time when the global economy is facing severe crises, when access to finance for development is very difficult to come by ... but China has come forward to push this cooperation.”

“What is encouraging also ... is that ... Africa wants to learn from China and partner with China,” he said.