China helps Africa build up essential infrastructure

Updated: 2016-07-23 07:08

By Yan Dongjie and Yu Yilei(China Daily)

  Print Mail Large Medium  Small 分享按钮 0

Vice-minister gives details of the difference the funding plan is making on the continent

More than half of the $60 billion in support China has promised Africa will go to building infrastructure, Vice-Foreign Minister Zhang Ming said on Friday at a media briefing on the coming China-African Cooperation meeting in Beijing.

Zhang used two Chinese proverbs to explain why most of the money goes to infrastructure.

"Want riches? Build the road first," Zhang said citing the Chinese slogan created in 1982 amid China's reform and opening-up campaign. "To attract the phoenix, build the nest first."

Zhang said infrastructure construction is essential for economic development, according to China's experience in the past 40 years of development.

On July 28 and 29, representatives of China and about 30 African countries will review the three-year (from late 2015 to 2018 ) funding plan initiated during the Johannesburg Summit of the Forum on China-African Cooperation in December.

During that summit, President Xi Jinping announced assistance and loans totaling $60 billion for Africa-$5 billion in grants and zero-interest loans, $35 billion in loans with more favorable terms and an export credit line, and $20 million added to funds for development and production capacity cooperation.

Zhang said that some projects have already been completed and details would be revealed at the meeting next week, where more contracts are expected to be signed between Chinese and African representatives.

"We are very careful and responsible with the money. Every penny spent has been well considered and examined, and every project promises economic and social benefits," said Zhang, adding that the Chinese government and financial institutions are taking the responsibility of supervising the projects.

He Wenping, a researcher at the Institute of West-Asian and African Studies of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said that by providing, amid the global economic slowdown the largest funding to Africa in history, China shows its determination to support development on the continent.

The fund is 1.5 times the amount of the Silk Road Fund, a Chinese investment fund in countries along the Belt and Road Initiative area.

In his speech in December, Xi announced 10 major plans to boost bilateral cooperation in areas such as industrialization, agricultural modernization, infrastructure, financial services and green development.

"The fund is planned in detail for certain areas of infrastructure, industry, and production capacity cooperation. It's foreseeable that the projects will make great differences in these fields in Africa in the three years (of the funding plan)," said He.

He said that the funding fills the urgent financial needs of African countries and absorbs the overcapacity of China, and brings opportunities for companies from both sides.

Contact the writers at