Xi reassures China’s commitment to BRI projects, especially those in Africa

Senegal president Macky Sall, left, and Chinese President Xi Jinping, inspect the honor guard during a state visit in Dakar, Senegal (July 21, 2018).
Image Credit: AP Photo/Xaume Olleros
China’s Belt and Road Makes Inroads in Africa
In Senegal, Rwanda, and Mauritius, China pursues Belt and Road agreements — with mixed success.
By Shannon Tiezzi
July 31, 2018
Everywhere Chinese leaders go, the Belt and Road follows – in speeches, if nothing else, but also often in investment agreements and even formal diplomatic documents. That was the case last week as well, when Chinese President Xi Jinping took a four-country tour of Africa, stopping in Senegal, Rwanda, South Africa (where he also attended the BRICS summit), and Mauritius. According to the summary of Xi’s trip from Chinese state news agency Xinhua, “the signing of cooperation documents regarding the Belt and Road Initiative” was a “key achievement” of Xi’s trip. Xi’s first stop in Africa, Senegal, saw the signing of an official cooperation document on the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), the first time a country on Africa’s west coast has officially joined the project. The document formalizes pre-existing cooperation on infrastructure; as South China Morning Post reported, “In Senegal, Chinese loans have financed a highway linking the capital Dakar to Touba, its second main city, and part of an industrial park on the Dakar peninsula.” … for more, go to https://thediplomat.com/2018/07/chinas-belt-and-road-makes-inroads-in-africa/ 

Xi reassures China’s commitment to BRI projects, especially those in Africa


KUALA LUMPUR (Sept 2018): China’s multi-trillion-dollar Belt Road Initiative (BRI)’s infrastructure projects are to proceed as scheduled.
Whether with US tariff-slappings or not, Xi has made it clear that BRI projects are to proceed as scheduled for the benefit of some 90 countries and international organisations.

At the China-Africa Summit opening today (Sept 3), Xi stressed that the Chinese funds for BRI were not for “vanity projects.

He also stressed that inadequate infrastructure posed as the biggest bottleneck to the African Continent’s progress and development.

“We must ensure that resources for our (BRI) cooperation are not spent on any vanity projects, but in places where they count the most,” Xi added.

Here’s the Reuters report on Xi’s address at the China-Africa Summit:

"China's Xi says funds for Africa not for 'vanity projects'

WORLD
Monday, 3 Sep 2018
2:01 PM MYT
 

BEIJING (Reuters) - Chinese President Xi Jinping said on Monday that Chinese funds are not for "vanity projects" in Africa but are to build infrastructure that can remove bottlenecks in the continent's development.

Speaking at a business forum ahead of the start of a once-every-three-years China Africa summit, Xi said: "Resources for our cooperation are not to be spent on any vanity projects, but in places where they count the most."

"Inadequate infrastructure is believed to be the biggest bottleneck to Africa's development," he added.

Chinese officials say this year's summit will strengthen Africa's role in Xi's Belt and Road initiative to link China by sea and land through an infrastructure network modelled on the old Silk Road with southeast and central Asia, the Middle East, Europe and Africa.

Chinese businesses in Africa should take up social responsibilities, do more to train local staff and pay attention to environmental issues, Xi added.

"I hope you will build a valued corporate reputation, establish Chinese investment brands and cultivate your investment image," he said.

Xi was scheduled to address the opening of the summit later in the day.

From 2000 to 2016, China loaned around $125 billion to the continent, data from the China-Africa Research Initiative (CARI) at Washington's Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies shows.

It is the most significant contributor to high debt risks in three African countries, Congo Republic, Djibouti, and Zambia, CARI said last week.

In most other nations, traditional donors, multilateral agencies and private creditors held significantly higher portions of debt, it added. The last decade has seen a boom in African Eurobond issuance.

China has denied engaging in "debt trap" diplomacy, but Xi is likely to use the gathering of African leaders to offer a new round of financing, following a pledge of $60 billion at the last summit three years ago in South Africa.

Ethiopia and Zambia, heavy borrowers from China, have expressed desire to restructure that debt, while bankers believe Angola and Congo Republic have already done so, though details are sparse.

But even countries heavily indebted to China say Beijing offers far better terms than Western banks, and that European nations and the United States fail to match its generosity.

Every African country is represented at the business forum apart from eSwatini, self-ruled Taiwan's last ally on the continent, which has so-far rejected China's overtures to ditch Taipei and recognise Beijing.

African presidents in attendance include South Africa's Cyril Ramaphosa, Egypt's Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, Zambia's Edgar Lungu and Gabon's Ali Bongo.

(Reporting by Ben Blanchard and Christian Shepherd; Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore) - Reuters/The Star Online


China's Xi offers another $60 billion to Africa, but says no to 'vanity' projects

WORLD
Monday, 3 Sep 2018
6:47 PM MYT
by christian shepherd and ben blanchard

BEIJING (Reuters) - Chinese President Xi Jinping offered another $60 billion in financing for Africa on Monday and wrote off some debt for poorer African nations, while warning against funds going towards "vanity projects".

Speaking at the opening of a major summit with African leaders, Xi promised development that people on the continent could see and touch, but that would also be green and sustainable.

China has denied engaging in "debt trap" diplomacy, and Xi's offer of more money comes after a pledge of another $60 billion (£46.5 billion) at the previous summit in South Africa three years ago.

Xi, addressing leaders at Beijing's Great Hall of the People, said the new $60 billion will include $15 billion of aid, interest-free loans and concessional loans, a credit line of $20 billion, a $10 billion special fund for China-Africa development, and a $5 billion special fund for imports from Africa.

https://fingfx.thomsonreuters.com/gfx/editorcharts/CHINA-AFRICA/0H0014BSP20X/index.html (GRAPHIC - China's investment in Africa)

'AFRICA KNOWS BEST'

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.

China will carry out 50 projects on green development and environmental protection in Africa, focussing on fighting climate change, desertification and wildlife protection, Xi said.

He pledged, without giving details, that China would set up a peace and security fund and a related forum, while continuing to provide free military assistance to the African Union.

Chinese officials have vowed to be more cautious to ensure projects are sustainable. China defends continued lending to Africa on the grounds that the continent still needs debt-funded infrastructure development.

Speaking earlier at a business forum, Xi said China had to be careful about where money was spent.

"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," he said.

Beijing has also fended off criticism it is only interested in resource extraction to feed its own booming economy, that the projects it funds have poor environmental safeguards, and that too many of the workers for them are flown in from China rather than using African labour.

Chinese officials say this year's summit will strengthen Africa's role in Xi's Belt and Road initiative to link China by sea and land with Southeast and Central Asia, the Middle East, Europe and Africa through an infrastructure network modelled on the old Silk Road.

Xi said the plan, for which Beijing has pledged $126 billion, would help provide more resources and facilities for Africa and would expand shared markets.

China loaned around $125 billion to the continent from 2000 to 2016, data from the China-Africa Research Initiative at Washington's Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies shows.

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.

"In terms of cooperation with China, African countries know best," widely read tabloid the Global Times wrote in an editorial on Monday.

"Western media deliberately portray Africans in misery for collaborating with China and they appear to have discovered big news by finding occasional complaints in the African media about Sino-Africa cooperation," it said.

Every African country is represented at the business forum apart from eSwatini, self-ruled Taiwan's last African ally that has so far rejected China's overtures to ditch Taipei and recognise Beijing.

African presidents in attendance include South Africa's Cyril Ramaphosa, Egypt's Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, Zambia's Edgar Lungu and Gabon's Ali Bongo.

There are some controversial guests.

Sudan President Omar al-Bashir, who has been in power for nearly 30 years, is wanted by the International Criminal Court (ICC) for war crimes over killings and persecution in Sudan's Darfur province between 2003 and 2008.

Xi told him on Sunday that "foreign forces" should not interfere in Sudan's internal affairs, China's Foreign Ministry said. China is not a party to the court.

"China has always had reservations about the International Criminal Court's indictment and arrest order against Sudan's president. We hope the ICC can prudently handle the relevant issue," Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying told reporters.

(Reporting by Ben Blanchard and Christian Shepherd, additional reporting by Michael Martina; Editing by Paul Tait, Darren Schuettler and Himani Sarkar) - Reuters/The Star Online
"


East Africa Embraces China's 'Belt And Road' For Future Investment
07:52
February 16, 2018
Last year Kenyans celebrated the reopening of the Standard Gauge Railway, a train line between Mombasa and Nairobi originally built by British colonists but replaced by a Chinese construction company. The symbolism of that project was not lost on East Africans, who have seen an influx of Chinese money into the region as part of China's global infrastructure initiative known as "Belt and Road." … for more, go to http://www.wbur.org/hereandnow/2018/02/16/east-africa-china-belt-and-road
CGTN sat down with Gabon's President Ali Bongo Ondimba about his views on the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation and what it means for African countries … for video, go to https://eblnews.com/video/gabons-president-bri-allows-african-countries-accelerate-development-493802

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