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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.

Ramaphosa said the objectives behind the China and Africa economic cooperation extended beyond the Chinese and African people and included the aspiration to build a shared future for all mankind through leadership, vision and partnership. "Resources for our cooperation are not to be spent on any vanity projects, but in places where they count the most". The package includes $20 billion of credit lines, $15 billion of grants, interest-free loans and concessional loans, $10 billion for a special fund and $5 billion fund to finance imports from Africa.

"I also hope you will do more in staff training and bettering lives for the local people and will put more emphasis on the environment and resources".

"China's investment in Africa comes with no political strings attached, " said Xi. He announced a $60 billion funding package to African countries, some of which is yet to be fully implemented.

The program is part of Xi's broader Belt and Road Initiative, an ambitious $120-billion-plus project that aims to link 65 countries in Europe, Asia and Africa - together accounting for nearly two-thirds of the world's population - through infrastructure projects and trade.

For financing, China will nudge African countries to tap new multilateral lenders such as the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), the New Development Bank (NDB) of the emerging economies, as well as the Silk Road Fund marshalled by China.

Speaking at the opening of a major summit with African leaders, Xi promised development that people on the continent could see and touch, but that would also be green and sustainable.

Sudan President Omar al-Bashir, who has been in power for almost 30 years, is wanted by the International Criminal Court (ICC) for war crimes over killings and persecution in Sudan's Darfur province between 2003 and 2008.

Djibouti has become heavily dependent on Chinese financing after China opened its first overseas military base in the Horn of Africa country past year, a powerful signal of the continent's strategic importance to Beijing.

The ECOWAS chairman said that member states will continue to pay emphasis on encouraging more foreign direct investment in the sub-region.

Ghana and a dozen others signed agreements before the start of the summit for China to build more roads, develop the aviation sector, improve healthcare delivery and many more projects in their countries. The least developed African countries will be exempted from paying exhibition stand fees, he said.

In his address earlier Xi said China committed to investing another $60 billion in Africa over the past three years following the successful implementation of a similar commitment since 2015 when South Africa hosted the forum in Johannesburg.

"Unilateralism and protectionism are on the rise". "We urge Chinese investors to take advantages of the great opportunities created by the African continental free trade area, which created a single market of more than 1 billion people". South African President Cyril Ramaphosa said that FOCAC "refutes the view that a new colonialism is taking hold in Africa as our detractors would have us believe", alluding to a comment by Malayasian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamed last month that China was trying to promote "a new version of colonialism".

He pointed out that energy, transport, telecommunications and tapping cross-border water resources would be on China's radar in the next phase of Africa's infrastructural forays.

Last week was a busy moment for African heads of state and government as they received representatives of former colonial masters Britain and Germany who wanted to boost trade and diplomatic presence in the continent. In an editorial, the paper said that the West just had "sour grapes" over China's good relations with Africa.


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