China’s promise to Africa: We’ll give you $20bn this year, and we shan’t bully you

President Xi and his wife Peng Liuan
Chinese President Xi Jinping has reiterated his country’s commitment to cooperate with Africa, revealing that Beijing is set to release to the Continent $20 billion in the form of loans to cater for 2013/14 financial year programmes.

Mr Xi said this while addressing the world on Chinese policies towards Africa at the new Mwalimu Julius Nyerere Convention Centre.

He said his country is geared at strengthening the cooperation between Tanzania and Africa at large, noting that China’s good relation with the Continent is traceable to the days of the liberation struggles.

The Chinese leader took the opportunity to refute claims that China is bent at exploiting Africa through its investments in the continent.

“In this new environment, our relation with Africa has become very important for we share common interest... and sincerity has always been the key to our unity and cooperation,” said Mr Xi, adding:

“China is against any form of bullying of small economies by the stronger ones and we always look forward to safeguarding the interests of emerging economies.”

He further called for other countries not to mess with African affairs. “Africa should always be for Africans,” he stressed.

Speaking about China’s foreign investments and trade, Mr Xi said his government has set aside $20 billion which will be lent to African countries for the financial year 2012/14.

According to him the money should go towards improving infrastructure as well as agriculture sector in Africa. The President noted that as of December 2012 China had invested a total of $15 billion in Africa.

On trade, the leader of the world’s second largest economy after the United States said currently, China--Africa trade volume stands at $200 billion.

He also used the occasion to outline some of China’s plans to empower Africa technologically. According to him, his country will train about 30,000 youth from across the continent in various sectors in the 2013/14 financial year.

“As the old saying goes: don’t give fish to someone who is angry; teach him/her how to fish so that he/she can become independent,” said he.

Speaking after he received a key from President Xi as an inaugural symbol of the state-of-the-art Mwalimu Nyerere Convention Centre, President Jakaya Kikwete paid tribute to Tanzania’s founding father and Chinese leader, Chairman Mao Tse-tung for initiating Sino-Africa cooperation.

President Kikwete reiterated that Tanzania wasn’t afraid of its relation with China, stressing that it was purely for the benefit of Tanzanians.

“I am aware there are those countries which are afraid of China but I want to tell the world that we (Tanzanians) aren’t afraid because we know the relationship is for our benefit,” he insisted.

Speaking about the new Mwalimu Nyerere Convention Centre, Mr Kikwete extended his appreciation to China and to its immediate former President, Mr Hu Jintao.

According to Mr Kikwete, the new facility will enable Dar es Salaam to host major international conferences.

“I can confidently say this is the second major international conference facility after Arusha…I am optimistic that we can now start conference tourism,” said President Kikwete.

President Xi and his delegation left Dar es Salaam yesterday evening for South Africa where he will attend the Emerging Economies Summit.
Source: The Citizen, www.thecitizen.co.tz, reported by Frank Kimboy in Dar es Salaam

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