FOCAC 2018 summit: 9 major things Buhari said in China

FOCAC 2018 summit: 9 major things Buhari said in China

FOCAC 2018 summit: 9 major things Buhari said in China

Xi made the announcement in a keynote speech delivered at the opening ceremony of the 2018 Beijing Summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation.

President Buhari said Chinese's President Xi Jinping's recent visit to ECOWAS sub-region has highlighted the need for even closer collaboration to enable more Chinese investment to support the cause of regional integration and development.

The money would be focused on infrastructure to help speed African countries' development, not on "vanity projects", Xi said.

On industrial promotion, Xi said a China-Africa economic and trade expo will be set up in China and Chinese companies are encouraged to increase investment in Africa.

China's growing presence on the continent - particularly with its massive "Belt and Road Initiative" - has raised concerns that many African nations might struggle to repay the Chinese debt used to build expensive infrastructure projects, allowing China to take control of strategic assets. China will carry out 50 agricultural assistance programs, provide emergency humanitarian food aid amounting to 1 billion yuan (147 million US dollars) to African countries affected by natural disasters, and send 500 senior agricultural experts to Africa.

He said the forum "refutes the view that a new colonialism is taking hold in Africa as our detractors would have us believe" because there was evidence of "tangible and lasting benefits to the African and Chinese people". "China dreams of national renewal and Africa of unity and invigoration and a day will come when both aspirations will be achieved", said Xi.

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Over the past 18 years, FOCAC has become a significant platform for collective dialogue between China and African countries and a leading mechanism for global ties with Africa and also South-South cooperation.

But Rwandan President Paul Kagame, who now chairs the African Union, said that rather than viewing the investment as a "debt trap", other countries should be asking why they're not giving Africa as much assistance as China.

Mr Xi said the plan, for which Beijing has pledged £97.8 billion ($126 billion), would help provide more resources and facilities for Africa and would expand shared markets.

He also announced an additional $60 billion of loans and other financing to follow on a similar amount promised three years ago.

For two days in a row, every headline on the front page of the state-run People's Daily started with the words "Xi Jinping..." as the president met with the leaders of countries from Angola and Gabon to Mauritius and Senegal.

He added that China values sincerity and trust in pursuit of partnership cooperation and has neither any attachments to the strength in the continent nor seek any gains while cooperating with Africa.

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Meanwhile, Africa's win is an initiative launched by the Chinese premier to promote non-resources-based China imports from Africa and a $5 billion special fund to accelerate such efforts.

Xi said the partnership should "increase political and policy dialogue, enhance mutual understanding and support and boost coordination on major global and regional issues [to] enable us to uphold our common interests". "China does not interfere in Africa's internal affairs and does not impose its own will on Africa".

"The reality is that Chinese debt as a percentage of total African debt is still relatively small", said Kenny Fihla, Standard Bank's chief executive for corporate banking.

The cooperation between China and Africa was "a forward looking partnership" not concerned only with the current - but also the future - challenges, he said.

President Cyril Ramaphosa is visiting China for the China- Africa Cooperation Summit and so far his visit has been described as a positive move that could result in job creation in South Africa.

Locals in other countries have complained about the practice of using Chinese labor for building projects and what are perceived as sweetheart deals for Chinese companies.

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