China will provide Africa with a further $60 billion in development financing over the next three years, President Xi Jinping told an audience of Chinese and African policymakers in Beijing, pushing aside claims that China is engaging in “debt trap diplomacy.”
“Only Chinese and African people have a say when judging if the co-operation is good or not between China and Africa,” said Xi in his address. “No one should malign it based on imagination or assumptions.”
Xi also said that instead of “vanity projects,” the funds will go towards commercial and environmentally-sustainable development. Of the $60 billion, $15 billion will be in aid, $20 billion in credit and around $15 billion in various, specific funds. Chinese firms will also be encouraged to invest $10 billion in Africa over the three years, said Xi.
China has been the continent’s largest trading partner since 2009, lending African countries about $125 billion in the decade from 2006 to 2016, reports the Financial Times.
However the sizeable loans and conditions attached have led some international critics to accuse Beijing of using attractive financial packages to bring smaller African nations under its political influence.
“Chinese debt has become the methamphetamines of infrastructure finance: highly addictive, readily available, and with long-term negative effects that far outweigh any temporary high,” wrote former Barack Obama adviser Grant Harris in Time magazine last week.
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