Xi Jinping woos African leaders with debt waiver, COVID vaccines, jobs amid US push into Africa
Beijing, Nov 29: Offering a slew of incentives, including one billion COVID-19 vaccines, waiver of debt and creation of eight lakh jobs in Africa in the face of the US' push into the continent to challenge Beijing’s influence, Chinese President Xi Jinping on Monday told a meeting of African leaders that China joins them in opposing racism and external interference in domestic affairs.
“We both oppose intervention in domestic affairs, racial discrimination and unilateral sanctions,” he said addressing the 8th Ministerial Conference of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation via a video link.
“To help the AU (African Union) achieve its goal of vaccinating 60 percent of the African population by 2022, I announce that China will provide another one billion doses of vaccines to Africa, including 600 million doses as donation and 400 million doses to be provided through such means as joint production by Chinese companies and relevant African countries,” Xi said.
In addition, China will undertake 10 medical and health projects for African countries, and send 1,500 medical personnel and public health experts to Africa, he said.
The meeting took place amid efforts by US President Joe Biden’s initiative of Build Back Better World (B3W), which was seen as rival to Xi’s multibillion dollar Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) with a focus on developing countries especially the African countries.
Offering vast variety of benefits, Xi said, “China will encourage its businesses to invest no less than USD 10 billion in Africa in the next three years, and will establish a platform for China-Africa private investment promotion,” he said.
China will undertake 10 industrialisation and employment promotion projects for Africa, provide credit facilities of USD 10 billion to African financial institutions, support the development of African SMEs on a priority basis, and establish a China-Africa cross-border RMB centre, he said.
“China will exempt African LDCs (least developed countries) from debt incurred in the form of interest-free Chinese government loans due by the end of 2021. China is ready to channel to African countries USD 10 billion from its share of the IMF’s new allocation of Special Drawing Rights,” he said.
“China will continue to work with African countries to set up “Luban Workshops”, and encourage Chinese companies in Africa to create at least 800,000 local jobs,” he said.
Also China will help build or upgrade 10 schools in Africa, and invite 10,000 high-level African professionals to seminars and workshops, he said. “We will implement 'Future of Africa — a project for China-Africa cooperation on vocational education', and start an employment 'through train' scheme for African students in China,” he said.