African states need work with African developmental finance institutions, as well as with those outside the continent, in filling the massive infrastructure gaps that exist.
 
Speaking to Press on the sidelines of the three-day Africa Investment Forum – held at the Sandton Convention Centre in Johannesburg this week – CEO of the Africa Finance Corporation (AFC) Samaila Zubairu said that, rather than choose foreign financiers over locals, countries should make use of both on a complementary basis.
 
“African states should work with both because we all have different roles to play,” he said, adding that the most prominent foreign financiers hailed from China.
 
“We as locals can help the government to structure the project and to define the need for the Chinese to come in – as opposed to having the Chinese define the role that they will play.
 
MOST TIMES WHEN AFRICAN GOVERNMENTS WORK WITH CHINA, THE CHINESE WILL PROVIDE A PORTION OF FUNDING AND EXPECT THE GOVERNMENT TO PROVIDE ITS PORTION. AFRICAN FINANCE INSTITUTIONS CAN HELP GOVERNMENTS PROVIDE THEIR OWN PORTIONS
 
Samaila Zubairu, CEO of the Africa Finance Corporation
Zubairu said the AFC had been a beneficiary of a $300 million (R4.3 billion) loan from China.
 
He said Chinese finance should not generate fear or pose a major threat, as all finance, irrespective of the financier, should be based on rational decision making.
 
“All financing should be based on viability, even if the money is coming from your mother. If you want to take the money, you should have a plan on how you are going to repay it. Once that plan is clear, you should make contingencies for things that could go wrong,” he said.
 
Zubairu said another challenge facing the continent was uncertainty with regard to what some governments want. He praised President Cyril Ramaphosa’s multibillion-rand investment inflow target as a noble initiative to which the AFC also wanted to contribute. “We think it is a great plan and we want to participate once we have projects to support the investment flow,” he said.
 
Established in 2007, the AFC is a Pan-African development finance institution with 20 African states as members. It is partly owned by the Central Bank of Nigeria and the government of Ghana, among other shareholders. So far, it has invested $4 billion across 28 countries.
 
Zubairu said that although South Africa was not a member of the AFC, it had invested in the Bakwena toll road in Gauteng – first in 2010 and then it increased its investment five years ago. “We have approached them (government) and they have not accepted membership. We hope that with this new government we can advance that, because the government is open to investments,” he said, adding that the benefit of membership lay in facilitating bigger investments faster.
 
In his opening address at this week’s investment forum, Ramaphosa said that the event – the first of its kind, convened by the African Development Bank – was a milestone in shaping the continent’s fortunes.
 
“The forum is a platform for African governments and businesses, continental and international financial institutions, and other development partners, to focus on the critical task of making Africa the next global frontier in investment,” he said.
 
Ramaphosa said a number of areas needed more attention to attract investments.
 
“To realise this potential, Africa needs to invest in the skills, capabilities and wellbeing of its people. It needs to improve governance and promote peace and stability. Most importantly, if Africa is to seize the opportunities of the future, it needs to mobilise large-scale, sustained investment, especially in infrastructure. African governments cannot do this without business.
 
“The private sector and private markets are key players in the African investment landscape, supported by the lending capacity of financial institutions both on the continent and beyond.”
 
 
Source: City Press

East African economies have in the past 10 years borrowed $29.42 billion to grow their transport, communication, manufacturing and energy sectors.

The region's economies are now spending almost eight per cent of their revenues to service these loans, which analysts say are becoming a burden, especially given that their impact is yet to be seen on the growth.

The latest data from the China-Africa Research Initiative (Cari) at John Hopkins University shows that Ethiopia owes Beijing $13.73 billion, followed by Kenya at $9.8 billion. Uganda owes $2.96 billion and Tanzania $2.34 billion.

Rwanda, South Sudan and Burundi owe China the least amounts -- $289 million, $182 million and $99 million respectively.

Cari director Deborah Brautigam said that the risk for the African borrowers relates to the projects' profitability.

"It is always important to look at whether these projects will generate enough economic activity to repay these loans, as opposed to being seen as merely ribbon-cutting opportunities," Ms Brautigam said.

Mega projects

The bulk of the monies, according to research by The EastAfrican, went into the transport sector, followed by power, communications and manufacturing.

Ethiopia's biggest intake of the Beijing loans was in 2013, coinciding with the launch of its joint standard gauge railway project with Djibouti. Addis took up more than $6.62 billion from Beijing for its mega projects, which also included the setting up of manufacturing zones. 

The data also shows Kenya's new railways line accounted for the highest debt intake from Beijing at $3.7 billion in 2014. 

China Exim Bank has been the go-to financier for the region's governments, giving out more than $16.3 billion. The China Development Bank advanced East African economies more than $6.9 billion, while other Chinese lenders are currently owed $6.1 billion, data shows. In terms of sector funding, Ethiopia invested the bulk of its funds in the transport sector ($4.37 billion), which was used for both the Addis Ababa light railway project and the Addis-Djibouti 700km railway. This was followed by communications at $3.16 billion and power projects at $2.54 billion.

Its manufacturing sector, which supports its fledging special industrial zones, including the Eastern Industry Zone and Huajian International Shoe City, received $2.02 billion.

"China gave priority to infrastructure and has promoted Africa's sustainable development through these loans, which have been used for infrastructure construction, energy and the manufacturing industry," said Liu Qinghai, a visiting researcher at Cari and head of the Centre for African Economic Studies at the Institute of African Studies at Zhejiang Normal University.

Kenya's transport sector took in $5.55 billion, largely driven by the new railway line from Mombasa to Naivasha.

Nairobi also took a $597 million loan for its power projects, including the $135 million for the 55 MW solar power plant in Garissa funded by the China Exim Bank.

South Sudan has received $158 million for its transport sector to date, and a further $24 million for its energy projects. 

Tanzania's energy sector remains the top financed sector funded by Chinese money, at $1.16 billion.

Dar es Salaam, which has not taken up any Chinese debt under President John Magufuli, has received $552 million for its communications sector.

Uganda, on the other hand, has seen its energy sector receive the highest funding from Beijing, at $1.92 billion, while its transport sector has absorbed $762 million.

Rwanda's China debt for transport amounts to $151 million.

But the region's countries seem to have slowed down bingeing on Chinese debt, with only Kenya and Ethiopia going to Beijing for loans.

Ethiopia borrowed $652 million last year, down from $926 million in 2016, while Kenya took $64 million, down from $1.09 billion in 2016.

In 2016, Kigali took $70 million and Kampala $85 million.

Debt roll over

Last month, Ethiopia became the first country to get its Chinese debt rolled over announcing that Beijing had agreed to restructure its $4 billion loan on the railway linking its capital Addis with neighbouring Djibouti.

Ethiopia's Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed said that the country's loans will now receive a further 20-year extension, which will see its annual repayments narrow to an affordable level.

"In conversations with our Chinese partners, we had the opportunity to enact limited restructuring of some of our loans.

"In particular, the loan for the Addis Ababa-Djibouti railway, which was meant to be paid over 10 years, has now been extended to 30 years. Its maturity period has also been extended," Dr Abiy said. 

Kenya also sought to get a grant as part of the package for its $3.8 billion loan for its continuing railway projects, as it seeks to manage its debt burden.

"The Naivasha-Kisumu phase of the SGR will cost $3.8 billion. And owing to its regional significance, I would request that 50 per cent of its cost be provided as part of grant financing," President Uhuru Kenyatta said at the Forum on China-Africa Co-operation in Beijing in August. This request was not granted.

Tim Jones, an economist at the Jubilee Debt Campaign, said that the continent debt problem could worsen, especially given the opaque nature in which they are signed.

"Debt problems are worsening and many lenders bear responsibility, not just China. We need new rules to make all lenders publicly disclose loans to governments at the time they are given. We also need to see these lenders made to restructure and reduce debts," Mr Jones said.

Burden

Last month, China' s special envoy to Africa, Xu Jinghu, denied claims that Beijing was burdening Africa with debt, noting that China was Africa's main creditor.

Indeed, data shows that the continent owes more to private lenders than to China.

"It is baseless to shift the blame onto China for these African countries debt problems. Their debt position has 'been built over time even before we came in.

"We have to look at the fluctuations in the international economic situation vis-a-vis the price of minerals, their key exports. This is where the problem is, and not Chinese loans," Mr Xu said.

 

Credit: Daily Nation

President Muhammadu Buhari said Chinese loans to Nigeria were not “debt trap” as being purported, noting that the nation was able to repay all the loans as and when due.

This was contained in a statement on Tuesday by the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu.

According to the statement, President Buhari was dispelling insinuations on how the Asian nation could be putting Nigeria under a massive debt through its financial support.

It said Nigeria’s partnership with China has resulted in the execution of critical infrastructure projects valued at more than $5 billion over the last three years.

It added that the projects being funded were perfectly in line with Nigeria’s Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP), adding that “some of the debts incurred are self-liquidating.”

“Let me use this opportunity to address and dispel insinuations about a so-called Chinese ‘debt trap’. We have completed and flagged off West Africa’s first urban rail system, valued at $500 million, in Abuja. Before then was the 180km rail line that connects Abuja and Kaduna, completed and commissioned in 2016, and running efficiently since then,” the statement read.

Buhari said Nigeria was leveraging Chinese funding to execute $3.4 billion worth of projects at various stages of completion, including upgrading of airport terminals, the Lagos – Kano rail line, Zungeru hydroelectric power project, and fibre cables for the country’s internet infrastructure, among others.

“Less than 3 months ago, Nigeria signed an agreement for an additional $1billion loan from China for additional rolling stock for the newly constructed rail lines, as well as road rehabilitation and water supply projects,” it added.

Two days ago, the presidential spokesman in a separate statement had said the two nations would sign a $328 million agreement on the National Information and Communication Technology Infrastructure Backbone Phase 11 (NICTIB 11) at the 2018 Beijing Summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC).

On Monday, China pledged a total of $60 billion financial support for projects in Africa, but noted the funds are not for “vanity projects” but for building infrastructure that can remove development bottlenecks.

 

The Ripples...

The Debt Management Office (DMO) on Tuesday said Nigerians have no reason to panic over Federal Government’s borrowing from China.

It said there is no risk of default on the loans because of the country’s “sound debt management practices.”

The DMO stated this in a statement in Abuja in response to rising criticism of the country’s borrowing culture from China as some Nigerians believed that the Asian country could be putting Nigeria under massive debt through its financial support.

It noted that the comments heightened following the recent summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC).

According to the debt office, it was important for the government to raise capital from several domestic and external sources to finance capital projects, in order to promote economic growth and development, as well as, job creation.

“One of the reasons why Nigeria would raise capital from Multilateral and Bilateral (external) sources is because they are Concessional which means that they are cheaper in terms of costs, and more convenient to service because they are usually of long tenors with grace periods,” it said.

Loans from Concessional Lenders have limits in terms of the amounts that they can provide to each country.

The DMO said borrowing from China Exim Bank is one of such means of ensuring that Nigeria had access to more long term concessional loans.

It said the loan would be used to finance road and rail transport, aviation, water, agriculture and power projects, adding that the terms of the loan were appropriate for the country’s financing needs and aligned with her debt management strategy.

“The public should be assured that Nigeria’s public debt is being managed under statutory provisions and international best practices, and there is no risk of default on any loan, including the Chinese loans.

“Thus, the possibility of a takeover of assets by a lender does not exist.

“For the avoidance of doubt, government’s borrowing in the domestic and external markets, including Chinese loans, are all backed by the full faith and credit of government, rather than a pledge of government’s assets.

“Finally, borrowing from China should not be seen from a negative perspective as they are being used to finance Nigeria’s infrastructural development at concessional terms,’’ DMO said.

Recall that President Muhammadu Buhari had said Chinese loans to Nigeria were not “debt trap” as being purported. According to him, the nation was able to repay all the loans as and when due.

Nigeria and China had signed a $328 million agreement on the National Information and Communication Technology Infrastructure Backbone Phase 11 (NICTIB 11) at the FOCAC Summit.

Last week, China pledged a total of $60 billion financial support for projects in Africa, but noted the funds are not for “vanity projects” but for building infrastructure that can remove development bottlenecks.

 

The Ripples...

China has agreed to restructure some of Ethiopia’s loans, including a loan for a four billion dollars railway linking its capital Addis Ababa with neighbouring Djibouti, Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed said on Thursday.
 
“`During our stay, we had the opportunity to enact limited restructuring of some of our loans.
 
“In particular, the loan for the Addis Ababa-Djibouti railway which was meant to be paid over 10 years has now been extended to 30 years.
 
“Its maturity period has also been extended,” Ahmed told newsmen in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa, upon return from a summit in China.
 
President Xi Jinping announced 60 billion dollars in aid and loans for Africa on Monday while hosting more than 40 of the continent’s leaders in Beijing, saying that the money came with no expectation of anything in return.
 
Beijing pushed back on criticism that it was shackling poorer countries with heavy debt burdens they will struggle to pay back, portraying the Chinese government as a magnanimous one motivated only to share its experience of rapid industrialization.
 
“China’s investment in Africa does not come with any political conditions attached and will neither interfere in internal politics nor make demands that people feel are difficult to fulfill,” Xi said during a keynote address to the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation on Monday.
 
Zi said the money will be focused on infrastructure to help speed African countries’ development, not on “vanity projects.”
 
The package outlined by Xi also includes medical aid, environmental protection, agricultural training and assistance, and government scholarships and vocational training for more than 100,000 young Africans.
 
At the last forum, held in Johannesburg three years ago, Xi also pledged $60 billion in investment.
 
He said Monday that this money had already been granted or earmarked, so the latest announcement represented a second round of 60 billion dollars.
 
The program is part of Xi’s broader Belt and Road Initiative, an ambitious $120-billion-plus project that aims to link 65 countries in Europe, Asia and Africa — together accounting for almost two-thirds of the world’s population — through infrastructure projects and trade.
 
At a time when President Trump is engaged in trade fights with the United States’ neighbors and allies, the Chinese leader seems to relish the opportunity to appear as a popular international statesman and champion of the liberal economic order.
 
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 Angola, Gabon, Mauritius, Senegal and elsewhere.
 
He also hosted Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir, who has been charged by the International Criminal Court with war crimes and crimes against humanity.
 
Analysts have raised concerns about African countries, many of which are subject to the whims of commodity markets, not being able to repay Chinese loans.
 
The three countries most vulnerable because of large debts owed to China are Djibouti, Congo and Zambia, say academics at the China Africa Research Initiative at Johns Hopkins University.
 
Zambia, which has a gross domestic product of 19.5 billion dollars, according to the World Bank, had taken about 6.4 billion dollars in loans from China, the researchers wrote in a briefing paper last month.
 
But Rwandan President Paul Kagame, who 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.
 
“We have benefited a lot from China’s support in our social and economic programs, and that has continued to strengthen the partnership between China and Rwanda,” Kagame told the People’s Daily.
The Chinese Government has expressed readiness to invest N2.16 trillion ($60 billion) in Africa in the next three years.
 
The Consul-General of the People’s Republic of China in Lagos, Mr Chao Xiaoliang disclosed this in a post-summit article entitled, “FOCAC Beijing Summit: A New Milestone in China-Africa Relations”.
 
Chao said the new investment drive was one of the outcomes of the just concluded summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation(FOCAC).
 
He said China would also in the next three collaborate with African countries in industrial promotion, infrastructure connectivity, trade facilitation, green development, capacity building, healthcare, people-to-people, peace and security.
 
“President Xi Jinping has announced that China will launch eight major initiatives in close collaboration with African countries in the next three years.
 
“The eight initiatives are in areas of industrial promotion, infrastructure connectivity, trade facilitation, green development, capacity building, health care, people-to-people, peace and security.
 
“To make sure these eight initiatives are implemented, China will extend 60 billion U.S. dollars (N2.16 trillion) financing to Africa in different forms which includes 15 billion U.S. dollars (N5.4 trillion) grants, interest-free loans and concessional loans.
 
“China will also encourage Chinese companies to invest more than 10 billion U.S. dollars (N3.6 trillion) in Africa in the coming three years,’’ he said.
 
According to him, China and African countries are destined to be good friends, good brothers and good partners.
 
Chao said that the Chinese government had also planned to set up ten Luban vocational workshops and an China-Africa innovation cooperation centres for youth innovation and entrepreneurship in Africa.
 
“There will also be a tailor-made programme to train 1000 Africans, as well as offer of 50,000 government scholarships to Africans.
 
“There will also be training opportunities for 50, 000 Africans through workshops and seminars and 2000 exchange opportunities for African youth,’’ he said.
 
Chao said the Summit was attended by President Muhammadu Buhari, 49 other Heads of State and Government, African Union (AU) Commission’s Chairperson and more than 240 Ministerial representatives from 53 African countries.
 
The consul-general said the meeting between Presidents Xi Jinping and Muhammadu Buhari at the summit, ended with the signing of more bilateral cooperation agreements between China and Nigeria.
 
He added: “We are confident that the FOCAC Beijing Summit and the meeting between the two Presidents will bring new opportunities for the comprehensive development of China-Nigeria strategic partnership.
 
“FOCAC Beijing Summit has set a new milestone for China-Africa relations. China with Nigeria and other African countries are ready to join hands to build a China-Africa community.
 
“A community with a shared future that features joint responsibility, win-win cooperation, happiness for all, common cultural prosperity,
common security, and harmonious co-existence.’’
 
 
Source: PMNEWSNIGERIA
More Kenyans believe that China constitutes the biggest threat to the country’s economic and political development than the United States of America, a survey shows.
 
The survey by Ipsos Synovate released on Wednesday revealed that 26 per cent of Kenyans see the Asian country as a threat to the development of Kenya, more than double the perception towards the US which ranks at 12 per cent up.
 
GRAFT
 
According to the survey conducted between July 25 and August 2, the unfavourable perception of China comes in the shape of threats posed by its cheap goods, fear of fostering corruption and leading to job losses.
 
A total of 38 per cent of Kenyans think that the continued relationship between Kenya and China will lead to job losses. This is only 11 percent in the relationship between Kenya and USA.
 
Another 25 per cent think that China will flood the Kenyan market with cheap goods compared to 18 percent perception of the US.
 
Perception of Kenyans towards China has taken a nosedive since March this year dropping from 34 per cent at that time while US’s has been on the rise since then from 26 percent to the current 35 per cent.
 
The perception is, however, skewed politically with more National Super Alliance (Nasa) supporters thinking that Kenya’s bilateral relationship with China is a bigger threat at 33 percent compared to 10 percent with USA.
 
For Jubilee supporters, only 23 per cent hold similar views on Kenya’s relationship with China but more on US compared to Nasa supporters at 16 percent.
 
On the flipside, approval for China comes because of its infrastructure projects in the country at 86 per cent compared to only 38 per cent for US. For US, its loan and grants to Kenya wins it an approval of 49 per cent compared to a paltry 11 per cent for China.
 
This is even as 35 per cent Kenyans say that USA is more important for Kenya to have relations with compared to only 25 per cent for China.
 
However, more Kenyans think that the country’s relationship with US will see the world superpower undermine the Kenyan culture, her elections and encourage terrorism at 14, 12 and 9 per cent respectively. This the Chinese are seen to have no effect on with 3, 0 and 2 per cent perception in that order.
 
More Nasa supporters at 49 per cent compared to Jubilee supporters’ 28 percent see bilateral relations with the US as critical.
 
However, more Jubilee supporters at 30 per cent to 19 per cent for their Nasa counterparts approve of relationship with China.
 
A total of 2, 016 Kenyans were interviewed in 46 counties using face to face interview at the household level with a margin of +/-2.16 per cent and a 95 per cent confidence level.
 
The survey also came before four important events in the country’s foreign relation development.
 
It was before Foreign Affairs Cabinet Secretary Monica Juma held talks with US counterparts in Washington DC on August 22 ahead President Uhuru Kenyatta’s visit five days later.
 
Five days later President Kenyatta held talks with US President Donald Trump and also met US business leaders.
 
President Kenyatta then welcomes British Prime Minister Theresa May three days later in Kenya before flying to China the next day for a major African-Chinese summit on economic partnership.

China has pledge a total of $60 billion financial support for projects in Africa, Chinese President, Xi Jinping, announced on Monday.

The President, who made the announcement while speaking at the opening ceremony of the 2018 Beijing Summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) in China, said the funds are not for “vanity projects” but for building infrastructure that can remove development bottlenecks.

The President said the financing would be provided in the form of governance assistance as well as investment and financing by financial institutions and companies.

“China does not interfere in Africa’s internal affairs and does not impose its own will on Africa.

“What we value is the sharing of development experience and the support we can offer to Africa’s national development and prosperity,” Xi said.

He stated that government debt from China’s interest free loans due by the end of 2018 would be written off for indebted poor African countries as well as for developing nations in the continent’s interior and small island nations.

According to a data from China-Africa Research Initiative at Washington’s Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies, the Asian nation has extended about $136 billion in loans to Africa between 2000 and 2017.

With the new $60 billion financing, the total loans extended to the nation in the last eighteen years is now $196 billion.

The new financing 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, according to Xi.

He further noted that Chinese companies would be encouraged to invest $10 billion in the continent in the next three years.

International organisations have expressed worry over the latest pledge by China for Africa, noting such loans would further sink nations within the continent under massive debt.

However, the country denied it engagement in “debt trap” diplomacy, adding that the continent still needs debt-funded infrastructure development.

“I also hope you will do more in staff training and bettering lives for the local people and will put more emphasis on the environment and resources,” he added.

 

The Ripples...

Chinese funds are not for "vanity projects" in Africa but are to build infrastructure that can remove development bottlenecks, Chinese President Xi Jinping said on Monday, telling Chinese firms they also had to respect local people and the environment.

Xi said at a business forum before the start of a triennial China Africa summit their friendship was time-honoured and that China's investment in Africa came with no political strings attached.

"China does not interfere in Africa's internal affairs and does not impose its own will on Africa. What we value is the sharing of development experience and the support we can offer to Africa's national rejuvenation and prosperity," Xi said.

"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.

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 previous summit in South Africa three years ago.

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.

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.

Xi told business leaders Chinese firms in Africa had to be aware of their social responsibilities and make sure their investments served the community and improved their wellbeing.

"I hope that our entrepreneurs will act to fulfil social responsibilities and respect local culture and tradition," he said.

"I also hope you will do more in staff training and bettering lives for the local people and will put more emphasis on the environment and resources," Xi said.

'AFRICA KNOWS BEST'

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 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.

 

(Reuters)

The Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) has proven to be productive and effective in boosting China-Africa cooperation, a Chinese special envoy said.
 
Zhou Yuxiao, China’s ambassador for FOCAC affairs, said this in an interview with Xinhua prior to the FOCAC Beijing Summit in September, expressing his confidence in the event’s success.
 
Zhou said FOCAC has grown into a dynamic mechanism with rich content and tangible results, following the principles of sincerity, practical results, affinity and good faith and the values of friendship, justice, and shared interests.
 
“China neither imposes its own will on others nor seeks its sphere of influence,” said Zhou.
 
“The concept of extensive consultation, joint contribution, and shared benefits’ is upheld when China cooperates with African countries.”
 
FOCAC was founded in 2000 and its membership had grown to have China, 53 African countries having diplomatic relations with China, and the African Union Commission as of June 2018, according to the FOCAC website.
 
Under the FOCAC framework, there are regular consultations at ministerial and senior-official levels, and between the Chinese Follow-up Committee and the African Diplomatic Corps in China.
 
Sub-forums on business, youth, health and poverty reduction, and many others, have also been set up.
 
FOCAC has held two summits gathering leaders of China and African countries, one in Beijing in 2006 and another in Johannesburg in 2015.
 
“FOCAC is not for idle words, but a platform to unleash real actions,” said Zhou.
 
The veteran diplomat, who spent years in Africa and served as the Chinese ambassadors to Liberia and Zambia, said he had witnessed the development of FOCAC over the years.
 
It began with small steps, with a focus on aid, trade, debt relief, personnel training but gradually grew to a comprehensive platform that covers industrialization, agricultural modernization, financing, green development, people-to-people exchanges, and security.
 
Zhou said FOCAC has won wide support from African countries for its efficient enforcement means, clear time-bound action plans, and an effective evaluation system.
 
He also attributed the mechanism’s effectiveness to the adequate funding.
 
For example, Zhou said, China pledged financing support amounting to 60 billion U.S. dollars to implement the ten cooperation plans announced at the 2015 FOCAC summit in Johannesburg.
 
Projects can also be funded by the Silk Road Fund or the BRICS New Development Bank.
 
Meanwhile, the Chinese government encourages trustworthy and competent Chinese enterprises to invest in Africa.
 
Both China’s ability to “walk the walk” and African countries’ active collaboration are key to the success of FOCAC, Zhou said.
 
“That is why FOCAC has earned wide recognition from African countries as well as the international community, and expectations are high for the upcoming summit,” said Zhou.
 
The summit is scheduled for Sept. 3 to Sept. 4 in Beijing. Priorities and key directions for China-Africa cooperation in the next three years will be announced.
 
A key aspect to watch, Zhou said, will be how China and Africa link the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) with the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the African Union’s Agenda 2063, and African countries’ development plans.
 
With the “twin engines” of the BRI and FOCAC, China-Africa cooperation is poised to move forward more steadily, faster and further.
 
“I’m confident that the summit will be a complete success,” said Zhou.
 
 
Vanguard..
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