Chinese President Xi Jinping on Monday pledged an additional 1 billion doses of COVID-19 vaccines to African countries as well as an investment of at least $10 billion into the continent over the next three years.
Xi made the pledges while speaking at the Eighth Ministerial Conference of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC). In his keynote address, Xi commemorated the decades-long diplomatic relationship China has shared with countries on the African continent.
"Here, let me express sincere appreciation to the many African friends who supported China back then. Let me also make it solemnly clear that China will never forget the profound friendship of African countries and will remain guided by the principle of sincerity, real results, amity and good faith and the principle of pursuing the greater good and shared interests," he said.
In his address, Xi presented four proposals aimed at expanding Chinese-African relations: fighting the COVID-19 pandemic with "solidarity," expanding trade and investment, coming together to promote green development and committing to upholding "equity and justice."
"To help the [African Union] achieve its goal of vaccinating 60 percent of the African population by 2022, I announce that China will provide another one billion doses of vaccines to Africa," Xi said. "In addition, China will undertake 10 medical and health projects for African countries, and send 1,500 medical personnel and public health experts to Africa."
Xi further announced the undertaking of 10 "poverty reduction and agricultural projects for Africa," which will involve China sending 500 agricultural experts to the continent.
"China will encourage its businesses to invest no less than 10 billion US dollars in Africa in the next three years, and will establish a platform for China-Africa private investment promotion," said Xi.
China has been accused of creating debt traps through bilateral lending to African countries, some of which have struggled to repay loans linked to Beijing's ambitious Belt & Road Initiative.
However, Chinese officials have rejected those accusations.
"Facts and data fully show that this accusation is purely politically driven," Zhou Liujun, vice chairman of China International Development Cooperation Agency, told reporters last month, according to Bloomberg. "Its real intention is to drive a wedge between China and Africa's friendly and cooperative relations."