China offers $20bn in loans for African development

20 Jul 12
China will offer $20bn in loans to African countries over the next three years to ‘support the cause of peace and development’, Chinese president Hu Jintao announced yesterday.

By Nick Mann | 20 July 2012

China will offer $20bn in loans to African countries over the next three years to ‘support the cause of peace and development’, Chinese president Hu Jintao announced yesterday.

The new credit line will be used to assist countries in developing infrastructure, agriculture, manufacturing and small and medium-sized enterprises, Hu told a conference on China-Africa co-operation in Beijing.

Hu said ‘remarkable achievements’ had been made by African countries in recent years in promoting peace and development but the continent still faced ‘major challenges’. The global financial crisis is still having an impact and the ‘unjust and inequitable’ international political and economic order continues to hinder world peace and development.

‘The international community should continue to give high priority to enhancing peace and development in Africa and increase input in this area,’ Hu said. ‘It should respect Africa's wishes, listen to its views, address its concerns and it meet the Millennium Development Goals at an early date.’

China’s commitment to support Africa’s peace, stability, development and unity would remain unchanged regardless of how the international landscape changes. ‘We will give genuine support to African countries’ independent choice of development paths and genuinely African countries strengthen capacity for self development,’ the Chinese president said.

As part of a move towards a ‘new type’ of China-Africa strategic partnership, China will establish a partnership with Africa on transnational and trans-regional infrastructure development. This will involve it supporting project planning and feasibility studies and encouraging Chinese companies and banks to get involved in projects.

China will also support training and technology projects and send medical personnel to Africa to ‘bring the benefits of development to the African people’.

And, in a bid to ‘promote peace and stability in Africa’, it will provide more financial support for African Union peace-keeping missions as well as for the development of the continent-wide African Standby Force.

During the same event, South African president Jacob Zuma said China’s involvement in Africa compared favourably with that of European countries.

‘Africa’s past economic experience with Europe dictates a need to be cautious when entering into partnerships with other economies.  We are particularly pleased that in our relationship with China we are equals and that agreements entered into are for mutual gain. This gathering indicates commitment to mutual respect and benefit,’ he said.

‘We certainly are convinced that China’s intention is different to that of Europe, which to date continue to attempt to influence African countries for their sole benefit.’

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