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China promises $60B for Africa as Xi counters 'debt trap' claims

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China promises $60B for Africa as Xi counters 'debt trap' claims

China's President Xi Jinping pledged $60 billion for African development over the next three years as he countered criticism that Beijing, through its "debt diplomacy" is ensnaring African countries in a debt trap, the Financial Times reported Sept. 4.

Xi, who spoke at the opening of the three-day triennial Forum on China-Africa Co-operation in Beijing, said China would focus on commercially viable, sustainable and green investments and would not finance "vanity projects."

"Only Chinese and African people have a say when judging if the co-operation is good or not between China and Africa. No one should malign it based on imagination or assumptions."

The assistance would include a $5-billion special fund for African imports. The funds also include $15 billion in aid, interest free loans and concessional loans, a $20-billion line of credit and a $10 billion special fund for China-Africa development, the FT reported.

China lent African countries about $125 billion between 2006 and 2016, data from the China-Africa Research Initiative at Johns Hopkins University in Washington showed. China surpassed the U.S. as Africa's biggest trading partner in 2009.

Xi said Chinese companies would be encouraged to invest $10 billion in Africa over the next three years. He also said China would increase efforts to import African merchandise and invest in African agriculture to ensure African food security by 2030.

African leaders, led by Uhuru Kenyatta, president of Kenya, pointed out China's huge trade surplus with Africa. Kenyatta said that China must try harder to import more value-added goods from Africa, reported the FT.