12/05/2015, 00.00
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Xi Jinping pledges US$ 60 billion for Africa's Development

The Chinese leader is in Johannesburg for the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation. The money will fund infrastructure and human labour development. Some experts fear it might favour Chinese neo-colonialism in Africa.

Johannesburg (AsiaNews) – Chinese President Xi Jinping on Friday announced at the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation in Johannesburg that China would contribute US$ 60 billion to African nations for their long-term development, including some zero interest loans.

“China will implement 10 cooperation plans with Africa in the next three years,” Xi told the heads of state of African nations at the summit.

Despite China's slowing economic growth, “These plans are aimed at addressing three issues holding back Africa’s development, namely inadequate infrastructure, lack of professional and skilled personnel and funding shortages,” he added.

However, many analysts fear that this may be another attempt to export Chinese workforce and plants to Africa in a new form of colonisation.

China’s economic ties with various African countries go back a long way, with offers of money in exchange for exclusive access to natural resources.

Data for China’s official and unofficial projects between 2000-2011 show that Beijing invested about US$ 75 billion in 1,673 projects, but under the OECD classification, only US$ 1.1 billion of that was development aid. For reference, the US invested US$ 90 billion over the same time-period.

At the same time, Beijing has resisted calls for greater transparency with its spending.

Chinese initiatives in Africa vary in nature and country. Items funded by China ranged from a defence college in Zimbabwe – whose leader, Robert Mugabe, is a pariah in the West – and an opera house in Algeria to Ghana, which was the top recipient of Chinese money.

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