China hosts African leaders as foreign aid criticism intensifies
Two-day forum will focus on President Xi jinping's Belt and Road Initiative
Amid growing criticism over its debt-heavy approach to foreign aid, China is hosting a summit for African leaders on Monday aimed at promoting Beijing’s vision for development on the continent.
President Xi Jinping and Africa’s leaders will participate in the two-day Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC), which is expected to focus on Xi’s “Belt and Road” infrastructure programme, AFP reported.
Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi told his African counterparts in Beijing on Sunday that Xi sees the summit as a chance to explain his “specific vision on building a China-Africa community with a shared future, and announce proposals and measures… to strengthen China-Africa cooperation.”
The ambitious scheme is aimed at giving China greater access to overseas markets and resources, as well as increasing Beijing’s global influence.
Through the scheme, China has lent billions of dollars to countries in Asia and Africa for roads, railways, ports and other major construction projects. However, critics say Xi’s project is burying some countries under mountains of debt.
Beijing’s relations with African nations has been generally positive, but the impact of some of China’s deals in the region has raised concerns. Countries in other regions, especially Southeast Asia, are starting to question whether Beijing’s assistance comes at too steep a price. For example, Malaysia cancelled a $20-billion rail project last month.