Africa: Chinese President Defends 'Belt and Road' Projects in Africa

Chinese President Xi Jinping told African political and business leaders Monday that China's investments on the continent are made with an eye on improving Africa's development, and not mere "vanity projects."

President Xi's remarks at opening the triennial Forum on China-Africa Cooperation in Beijing were aimed at assuring the African representatives about his "Belt and Road" initiative to lend billions of dollars to Asian and African countries to fund massive infrastructure projects. Critics of the Xi's plan say the massive debt would leave these countries beholden to China.

"China's investment in Africa comes with no political strings attached," Xi told the group. "China does not interfere in Africa's internal affairs and does not impose its own will on Africa."

China has made inroads on the African continent in recent years, striking numerous trade and infrastructure deals with several nations. President Xi pledged $60 billion in loans and assistance for Africa at the last China-Africa forum in 2015, which was held in South Africa.

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