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Xi Jinping to showcase BRI at China-Africa summit in Beijing

President Xi Jinping made the pledge Monday during the opening ceremony of the triennial Forum on China Africa Cooperation in Beijing. The initiative involves hundreds of projects, a lot of them built by Chinese contractors and financed by loans from Chinese state-owned banks, across an arc of 65 countries from the South Pacific through Asia to Africa and the Middle East.

Xi said Belt and Road complies with worldwide norms, and China "welcomes the participation of other capable and willing countries for mutually beneficial third-party cooperation".

"We are pleased that China is open to this [proposal], and in fact encourages balanced trade, so that we have a win-win outcome that benefits both the Chinese and the African people", he said.

China has pledged a $60 billion fund to bolster industry, counter hunger, and enhance security in Africa, a continent that has been chronically plagued by piracy and terrorism.

"Liberia supports and is willing to take part in China's Belt and Road Initiative", he said.

South Africa's department of Trade and Industry and China's National Development and Reform Commission also pledged to cooperate on global investment promotion for the African country's special economic zones and industrial parks, including a 4,600 MW coal-fired plant, a cement plant and other metallurgical projects.

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

China has established 54 Confucius Institutes and 27 Confucius classrooms in 41 African countries.

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In July 2001, a FOCAC ministerial consultation meeting was held in Lusaka, capital of Zambia, at which the Procedures for Follow-up Mechanisms of FOCAC were deliberated and adopted.

The relationship between China and Africa is based on more than just trade: it is a partnership aligned to Africa's development goals, as contained in the AU's Agenda 2063 and the New Partnership for Africa's Development.

"The FOCAC summit has now become a regular summit between Africa and China and there are big projects coming out of this partnership within the FOCAC summit", African Union Commissioner for Social Affairs Amira Elfadil said earlier, adding that the African Union Commission is going to play a big role by participating in the summit.

China has been Africa's top trading partner for nine consecutive years.

Xi announced that Africa's poorest nations would be given interest-free loans from China so that they incur less sovereign debt.

Presidential spokesman, Garba Shehu, has said that Nigeria and China have completed arrangements to sign 328 million dollars agreement on the National Information and Communication Technology Infrastructure Backbone Phase 11 (NICTIB 11). It also showed China's shift in focus from energy and mineral imports from the continent.

It is the only African state to maintain diplomatic ties with Taiwan.

The country meant to bring 200 young Africans to China for a skills exchange programme.

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