70% Of China Pledged $60 Billion Funds To Africa Is Already In Use Despite Pandemic

Credit: Council on Foreign Relations

COVID-19 has disrupted national and international financial systems, including bilateral commitment. But according to officials from Beijing, the pandemic will not affect its pledged funds to African countries. 

According to a Global Times report, Deng Li, assistant minister of foreign affairs, said at the 14th Senior Officials Meeting of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC), held in Beijing, that 70 percent of the $60 billion of China’s pledged financial support to Africa at the Beijing Summit of the FOCAC is already in use or provisioned, showing that China-Africa cooperation has not been stopped by the pandemic.

Attended by nearly 200 African diplomats from 54 countries and Chinese officials from related government departments, the meeting was held to review the implementation of the follow-up actions of the Beijing Summit of the FOCAC, Global Times said.  

Qian Keming, vice-minister of commerce at the forum, also said “amid the ruthless economic impact of the coronavirus and rising global protectionist headwind, the importance of China-Africa relations is more, not less, and mutual confidence is stronger, not weaker.” 

He Wenping, a research fellow of the Institute of West-Asian and African Studies at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, told the Global Times that the pandemic has affected many projects in Africa, and timely high-level meetings and communication between officials from China and African countries would keep all interested parties updated. But the positive side is, via the implementation of green channels, some of the projects are already gradually getting back on track. 

According to data from The China Africa Research Initiative at the John Hopkins University, “Chinese FDI annual flows to Africa, also known as OFDI (“Overseas Foreign Direct Investment”) in Chinese official reports, have been increasing steadily since 2003. From 2003 to 2018, the number has surged from US$75 million in 2003 to US$5.4 billion in 2018. The flows peaked in 2008 at US$5.5 billion because of the purchase of 20% of the shares in Standard Bank of South Africa by Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC).”

What will be the trajectory of Africa-China relations post-COVID-19?

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