China grows African goodwill through loans worth billions
BEIJING – State-run policy lender China Development Bank will loan small and medium-sized African companies another US$1 billion, the official Xinhua news agency has reported.
The new funds will increase to US$2 billion a loan facility first set up in 2009 to help African firms, Liu Hao, deputy head of the bank’s international department, was quoted as saying at a China-Africa forum in the eastern city of Hangzhou last Thursday.
The bank has since then “committed to financing 24 projects in 25 African countries with loans amounting to US$632 million dollars,” Xinhua quoted Liu as saying.
“The projects covered a wide range of sectors, from agriculture to the lighting industry, and created at least 6 000 local jobs,” he added.
China has increasingly turned to Africa for oil and mineral resources, markets and diplomatic support. In 2009, Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao offered Africa US$10 billion in concessional loans over three years.
Critics say Beijing’s aid is too often tied to its investment interests and can undermine efforts to encourage clean government in Africa because it does not demand the same kind of accountability as Western aid does.
China says African countries welcome its no-strings-attached aid. It also says its goals in the continent are purely selfless and its projects and help have benefited millions of ordinary people.