China’s Foreign Minister said Thursday his country will continue supplying loans to African Governments despite accusations that Beijing’s increased investments on the continent are aimed at gaining political influence.
Wang Yi’s remarks followed a closed-door meeting with his Ethiopian counterpart Workineh Gebeyehu in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa, one of the stops in his four-nation African tour.
China has invested billions of dollars in infrastructure projects in Africa in its “One Belt, One Road” initiative. The country has been accused of trying to lure African countries into a debt build-up for political gains and access to resources of the continent.
Recently, there have been reports that some African countries, including, Kenya, have been failing in paying back loans and even risking losing vital infrastructure such as ports to China.
“In terms of financing, recently, some African countries faced difficulties,” Wang admitted. However, Wang described the situation as “a temporary challenge”, saying, “we will do the best that we can.”
“China upholds the principle of business relations with Africa based on sincerity, good result, and amenity,” he said. In 2015, China provided $60 billion in loans and grants for African countries mainly for investment in infrastructure and manufacturing industries. “We never attack any political condition to our support,” he said.
“We will work very closely with Africa to speed up implementation of the FOCAC agreement,” Wang said, referring to the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation.
He said China supported the construction of more than 100 ports in Africa and thousands of kilometres of roads in addition to providing skilled labour training.
Gebeyehu said: “The Chinese are known for supporting development in Africa without interfering in internal affairs of countries.”
Ethiopia’s Foreign Minister, on his part, said ties between China and Africa were based on mutual understanding and benefits. “Our current relations with China will be supportive for the ongoing reforms in Ethiopia,” he said. Wang is set to meet African Union Commission Chairman Moussa Faki on Friday.