Annual China-Africa forum begins in Beijing with focus on belt and road investment

Annual China-Africa forum begins in Beijing with focus on belt and road investment

Chinese President Xi Jinping will officially open the China-Africa forum in Beijing today, which is expected to attract the participation

Chinese President Xi makes a toast during the welcoming banquet for the Belt and Road Forum at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing

Photo: Reuters/Damir Sagolj

Chinese President Xi Jinping will officially open the China-Africa forum in Beijing today, which is expected to attract the participation of African heads of states and business leaders—over 1,000 private sector representatives will likely attend.

A series of 14 different sessions will focus on poverty reduction, people-to-people exchanges, foreign investment and promoting rapid economic development. The forum is expected to be another venue for Beijing to promote its flagship Belt and Road Initiative to Africa, which has become a growing destination for Chinese infrastructure and commodity-related investment. Indeed, this is expected to be the main session’s focus, highlighting the potential for Chinese-led infrastructure investment to boost trade flows and connectivity with Africa to Latin America and Asia. Trade between the two regions has risen to over $200 billion since 2000, growing at roughly 14% annually. China is also set to announce major commercial loan packages rivalling the $60 billion announced at last years forum.

China will likely emphasise how its own approach to development assistance, primarily the relative lack of conditionality compared to other lenders, is complementary to international targets outlined in the UN Sustainable Development Goals. However, the focus of the forum is designed to facilitate greater long-term Chinese investment and involvement in Africa.

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