China pledges $60 billion in aid and loans to Africa

China pledges $60 billion in aid and loans to Africa, no ‘political conditions attached’

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa, left, shakes hands with Chinese President Xi Jinping after his speech at the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation in Beijing on Monday.

BEIJING — Chinese President Xi Jinping announced $60 billion in aid and loans for Africa on Monday while hosting more than 40 of the continent’s leaders in Beijing, saying that the money came with no expectation of anything in return.

Beijing pushed back on criticism that it was shackling poorer countries with heavy debt burdens they will struggle to pay back, portraying the Chinese government as a magnanimous one motivated only to share its experience of rapid industrialization.

“China’s investment in Africa does not come with any political conditions attached and will neither interfere in internal politics nor make demands that people feel are difficult to fulfill,” Xi said during a keynote address to the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation on Monday.

The money will be focused on infrastructure to help speed African countries’ development, not on “vanity projects,” Xi said.

Details were vague, but the $60 billion included $15 billion in grants, interest-free loans and concessional loans, $20 billion in credit lines and a $10 billion special fund for development financing. Chinese companies also will be encouraged to invest at least $10 billion in Africa over the next three years, state media reported.

The package outlined by Xi also includes medical aid, environmental protection, agricultural training and assistance, and government scholarships and vocational training for more than 100,000 young Africans.

At the last forum, held in Johannesburg three years ago, Xi also pledged $60 billion in investment. He said Monday that this money had already been granted or earmarked, so the latest announcement represented a second round of $60 billion.