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Chinese President Xi Jinping has announced his government will invest over $60 billion in Africa over the next three years and cancel debt from the least developing countries that have relations with China.

Speaking to a gathering of African leaders in Beijing, Xi said the figure includes $15 billion in grants, interest-free loans and concessional loans, $20 billion in credit lines, $10 billion for "development financing" and $5 billion to buy imports from Africa.

Beijing has refuted claims of using "debt trap" diplomacy to gain influence in African markets and secure privileged access to resources in the continent.

A current roadmap for China-Africa cooperation in the new era is one eagerly awaited outcome of the 2018 Beijing Summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC), which will begin on Sept 3.

"China does not have a very competent global bureaucracy in foreign aid, in expansion of soft power", Anne Stevenson-Yang, co-founder and research director at J. Capital Research, said.

But Xi admitted there was a need to look at the commercial viability of projects and make sure preparations are made to lower investment risks and make cooperation "more sustainable".

The relationship between China and Africa is based on more than just trade: it is a partnership aligned to Africa's development goals, as contained in the AU's Agenda 2063 and the New Partnership for Africa's Development.

He said: "During the High-Level Dialogue between Chinese and African Leaders, and Business representatives on the margins of FOCAC, the Nigerian delegation is also expected to sign no fewer than 25 MoUs".

"We are looking for economic co-operation to benefit within the framework of the China-Africa Focac platform".

President Xi and South African President Cyril Ramaphosa will both chair a roundtable discussion, where Chinese and African leaders will discuss China-Africa relations as well as worldwide and regional issues of common concern.

"It will encourage the development of Africa's infrastructure, a critical requirement for meaningful regional and continental integration".

China has been Africa's top trading partner for nine consecutive years.

Fourteen sub-forums and side events, covering various people-centered areas, will take place before and after the summit.

Chinese officials say this year's summit will strengthen Africa's role in Xi's Belt and Road initiative to link China by sea and land with Southeast and Central Asia, the Middle East, Europe and Africa through an infrastructure network modeled on the old Silk Road. He insisted that China will not impose its will on Africa despite a huge investment program. Last year, China-Africa trade volume was $170 billion.

China has established 54 Confucius Institutes and 27 Confucius classrooms in 41 African countries.


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