Experts on Saturday hailed China's decision to strengthen its cooperation with Africa through a rollout of 10 major China-Africa cooperation plans and an offer of 60 billion U.S. dollars of funding support. [Special coverage]
Chinese President Xi Jinping announced in a keynote speech at the second summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) in Johannesburg, South Africa that his country will roll out 10 major programs to strengthen cooperation with Africa in the coming three year.
"The major projects announced by the Chinese president are welcomed and definitely will add impetus into the promotion of win-win cooperation," Professor Francis Chigunta, a development expert told Xinhua.
He further said the cooperation in infrastructure is critical to spur Africa's economic development, adding that lack of infrastructure is one of the hurdles hindering the development of Africa.
"Africa is facing a deficit in infrastructure and China's decision to help in infrastructure development is welcome. Figures indicate that Africa needs 93 billion U.S. dollar to upgrade its infrastructure and China's help has come at a right time," he added.
The industrialization agenda, he continued, is what Africa requires currently in order to foster economic growth and lift hundreds of people out of poverty.
Chinese assistance in Africa's industrialization will add values to its natural resources, create jobs in various sectors thus reduce poverty to a large extent.
Stewart Daka, an economist said Africa should embrace the opportunities presented by China in its 10-point cooperation agenda.
According to Daka, the high-profile summit and Chinese president Xi Jinping's state visit to Zimbabwe and South Africa will draw more Chinese attention on Africa, bringing an opportunity for the tourism sector to grow.
"We anticipate increased Chinese tourists visiting Africa because of this high-profile visit and summit," he added.
The big package announced by Chinese President Xi Jinping covers the areas of industrialization, agricultural modernization, infrastructure, financial services, green development, trade and investment facilitation, poverty reduction and public welfare, public health, people-to-people exchanges, and peace and security.
To ensure smooth implementation of the initiatives, Xi announced, China will offer 60 billion U.S. dollars of funding support, including 5 billion dollars of free aid and interest-free loans, 35 billion dollars of preferential loans and export credit on more favorable terms, 5 billion dollars of additional capital for the China-Africa Development Fund and the Special Loan for the Development of African SMEs each, and a China-Africa production capacity cooperation fund with the initial capital of 10 billion dollars.
Xi announced on Saturday that he and African leaders have reached consensus on lifting China-Africa relations to a comprehensive strategic cooperative partnership.