Multi-billion dollar SA, China deals to enable economic growth

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African and other Asian leaders have welcomed "Belt and Road" but some projects have prompted complaints about debt and other problems.

Zimbabwe and China have excellent bilateral relations anchored in a shared history and friendship that dates back to the days of the liberation struggle and President Mnangagwa's second visit to China since his ascendency in November past year is expected to inject new vitality and renew the call for a shared future with the Asian country. Trade between Africa and China in 2014 was at $220 billion.

Sisulu identified rising nationalistic ethos, populism, unilateralism, protectionism and the emergence of global trade wars among the current challenges that representatives of all 54 states gathering for Forum on China-Africa Cooperation had to confront during the two-day summit that would end on Tuesday. China's investments in Africa have also grown significantly.

In the recent five years, China-Africa relations have gained practical results, bringing tangible benefits to both peoples, including unprecedentedly frequent high-level exchanges and strengthened political guidance.

"It is not a China club", Mr Xi said in a speech on Monday to mark the project's anniversary, describing Belt and Road as an "open and inclusive" project.

"The future of China-Africa relations is going to depend entirely on how China manages this debt situation, which is now spiraling out of control", he added.

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"It's hard to think of any country in Africa that has not been touched by China", he said, adding that China rejects the claim of "debt-trap diplomacy".

China is on a quest to become the world's economic superpower and Africa will be its gateway into infrastructure development investment deals.

Xi told business leaders Chinese firms in Africa had to be aware of their social responsibilities and make sure their investments served the community and improved their wellbeing.

Proposed in 2013, the Belt and Road Initiative refers to the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road, which aims to build a trade and infrastructure network connecting Asia with Europe and Africa along the ancient trade routes of the Silk Road.

In this regard, we look forward to cementing an even stronger China-Africa partnership through win-win cooperation at the 2018 Focac Summit.

"I also hope you will do more in staff training and bettering lives for the local people and will put more emphasis on the environment and resources", Xi said. Morocco and Tunisia have already eased visa restrictions. In addition, South Africa hosts the largest number of Chinese tourists in Africa, with about 100 000 citizens having visited the country in 2017. He noted that Tunisia expects to receive 30,000 to 35,000 Chinese tourists this year.

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