Saturday, 22 September, 2018

Buhari off to China with wife, daughter

Xi Jinping to showcase BRI at China-Africa summit in Beijing
Andy Castillo | 03 September, 2018, 19:31

Beijing is pledging to extend new funding of $60 billion to Africa, aimed at areas from industrial enhancement to infrastructure.

Xi also announced that China would waive the debt of the poorest African countries that have diplomatic ties with Beijing.

President George Manneh Weah and a high-level Liberian delegation have safely arrived in Beijing, People's Republic of China (PRC) to join his African colleagues at the 2018 Beijing Summit of the Forum on China - Africa Cooperation (FOCAC).

However, critics say Xi's project is burying some countries under mountains of debt.

After the FOCAC Summit, President Buhari will hold bilateral meetings with President Xi Jinping and Prime Minister Li Keqiang to discuss infrastructure financing for strategic projects in Nigeria and the upgrading of Nigeria-China relations "from a strategic partnership to comprehensive strategic partnership".

He will also be co-chairing the forum on China-Africa Cooperation Summit which started this morning.

China has denied it is engaged in debt trap diplomacy and Chinese state media have argued that concerns raised in Western media and by politicians are nothing but sour grapes.

It has already seen China loan billions of dollars to countries in Asia and Africa for roads, railways, ports and other major infrastructure projects.

According to the government, Zimbabwe will require about 11 000 megawatts of electricity to achieve its vision of becoming a middle-income country by 2030 and hence the huge demand for power presents vast opportunities for China to further invest in Zimbabwe's energy sector.

African heads of state attending Forum on China Africa Cooperation 2018
African heads of state attending Forum on China Africa Cooperation 2018

It would be spent on eight initiatives over the next three years, including building more infrastructure and giving scholarships to young Africans, he said.

In terms of the agreement between the Bank of China and the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI)‚ one of the biggest commercial banks in China has committed to pumping money into the development of special economic zones in South Africa.

Africa has long embraced Chinese investment, helping make Beijing the continent's largest trading partner for the past decade.

Xi's announcement followed China's decision to contribute $60 billion in investments three years ago, the news agency reported. It has since dipped and previous year continued a slow recovery to $170 billion. China's investments in Africa have also grown significantly.

"What China imports the most from Africa is not energy, but a huge amount of agricultural products", he said.

He highlighted the Liberian government's firm position on the One-China Policy, and said his government is willing to increase exchanges at all levels, emphasizing that the two countries should continue to show mutual understanding and support each other on issues involving their respective core interests and major concerns. We are simply foolishly giving our future to China.

"As it is, nearly all African countries have loans or grants from China, so it would make economic sense to repay in yuan", said MEFMI spokesperson Gladys Siwela-Jadagu.

He said that limits the ability of African countries to get the full value out of their natural resources and create work for their people.

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