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As Trump breaks ties with Africa, China offers another $60 billion to the continent Updated for 2021

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Updated: February 25, 2021

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As President Donald Trump breaks ties with the African continent, China is strengthening them.

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On Monday, Chinese President Xi Jinping offered another $60 billion in financing for Africa and explained that his government would encourage Chinese companies to invest at least $10 billion over the next three years.

Xi made the announcement while speaking at the opening of a major summit with African leaders. The big announcement comes after a pledge of another $60 billion at the previous summit in South Africa three years ago.

According to Reuters, Xi 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”.

China has 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, Reuters reported.

African presidents in attendance include South Africa’s Cyril Ramaphosa, Egypt’s Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, Zambia’s Edgar Lungu, Gabon’s Ali Bongo, Cameroon’s Paul Biya, Nigeria’s Muhammadu Buhari and several others.

The additional funding for Africa came even as the Trump administration was breaking ties with a continent reports quoted him as describing as “shithole”.

The New York Times reported on Sunday. that the Trump administration would withdraw nearly all American commandos from Niger and shut down most elite counterterrorism units across Africa, if Defense Secretary Jim Mattis approves the plans.

The Times quoted three Defense Department officials as saying that if approved by Secretary Mattis, the Pentagon would close military outposts in Tunisia, Cameroon, Libya and Kenya, as well as seven of the eight American elite counterterrorism units operating in Africa.

According to The Times, “To comply with the proposed change, the United States Africa Command will reassign hundtreds of American troops that are currently spread across the continent. That move is expected to be carried out over the next 18 to 36 months, but one Defense Department official said the timeline was likely to be accelerated once the proposal was approved and final”.

Although China would be investing those billions in Africa, China has been accused of engaging in “debt trap” diplomacy, supporting autocratic government, importing all the workers from China rather than use African laborers and using the investment as a cover to exploit natural resources, often without the knowledge of the host countries.

Its projects in Africa are often also deemed to be sub-standard and in the long run with little benefits to the African countries. 

But speaking on Monday, Xi said “China-Africa cooperation must give Chinese and African people tangible benefits and successes that can be seen, that can be felt”.

“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 added.

He said Chinese companies need to be aware of their social responsibilities.

“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 added.

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Simon Ateba
Simon Ateba
Simon Ateba covers the White House, the U.S. government, the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and other financial and international institutions for Today News Africa in Washington D.C. Simon can be reached on simonateba@todaynewsafrica.com

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