On Friday, Chinese President Xi Jinping pledged $60 billion to fund the development of African nations. The recent promise is expected to strengthen China’s influence over the continent, giving China more control and power over the world as a whole.

The Chinese President made the move despite the fact that economic growth in China is currently very weak. The country has largely experienced an economic slowdown this past year because of the rising prices of key commodities used to build new infrastructure.

President Xi announced the pledge at the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation in the South African capital city of Johannesburg. The pledge is one part of a ten-point plan to develop African nations. In order to support this funding package, China will make use of $5 billion worth of grants that have 0% interest loans and $35 billion in preferential facility and export credit loans. The rest will come from concessional loans.

President Xi said at the Forum, “China will implement 10 cooperation plans with Africa in the next three years. These plans are aimed at addressing three issues holding back Africa’s development, namely inadequate infrastructure, lack of professional and skilled personnel and funding shortages.”

With the funding, China will assist African countries in building and operating roads, railroads, airports, ports, electrical power plants and telecommunication systems.

The Chinese President also said that China would waive any outstanding debts with zero interest loans that are due this year for the least developed African countries. However, President Xi would not reveal the amount of these debts.

This represents the second time since 2009 that China has cancelled debts for African nations. In 2009, China waived a total of nearly $3 billion in debts for 35 African nations.

President Xi added that China would work to strengthen its cooperation with Africa in the fight against violent extremism. The Chinese President also assured African leaders that China would not interfere with their political choices.

Africa is generally a key supplier of commodities that are used to construct and maintain infrastructure in China.

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