September 4, 2018 – President Xi Jinping pledged yesterday that China will extend $60 billion of financing to Africa in an attempt to build a “China-Africa community with a shared future,” with Beijing aiming to bolster its influence in the region.
Xi called for joint responsibility and win-win cooperation between China and Africa, in his keynote speech at the opening ceremony of the summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation held at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing.
The Chinese president also voiced opposition to “protectionism and unilateralism,” warning against U.S. President Donald Trump’s higher tariff policy that has raised concern over the outlook for the global economy.
China has sought to expand infrastructure networks in Asia, the Middle East, Europe and Africa to achieve its goal of connecting countries along the ancient Silk Road trade routes more closely, under the “One Belt, One Road” initiative.
Beijing has been trying to capitalize on economic growth in Africa, which has a wealth of natural resources and a large population, foreign affairs experts say.
Leaders from around 50 African countries are participating in the summit slated to end Tuesday. They are expected to discuss and approve the “Beijing Declaration,” specifying China-Africa economic cooperation, and an action plan for 2019-2021.
The Forum on China-Africa Cooperation was launched in 2000. Its summit meeting is being held for the first time since 2015.
In Asia, Japan has hosted a Japan-Africa meeting known as the Tokyo International Conference on African Development since 1993.
TICAD has focused on development issues in Africa, while the China-led forum has concentrated on discussions about investment and trade matters on the continent.