China does not invest in “vanity projects” in Africa and is helping the continent build its infrastructure, President Xi Jinping has said.
He pledged an extra $60bn (£42bn) for the continent’s development, as he opened a summit with African leaders in Beijing to boost relations.
But critics warn that African nations have been going into unsustainable levels of debt with the Asian giant.
Mr Xi admitted there was a need to look at the commercial viability of some projects and make co-operation more viable.
“China’s cooperation with Africa is clearly targeted at the major bottlenecks to development,” he told business leaders ahead of the opening of the two-day summit. “Resources for our co-operation are not to be spent on any vanity projects but in places where they count the most.”
South Africa’s President Cyril Ramaphosa welcomed China’s growing involvement on the continent, saying he did not agree that a “new colonialism is taking hold in Africa as our detractors would have us believe”.
All African nations are represented at the summit, except for the tiny kingdom of eSwatini, formerly known as Swaziland. It is the only African state to maintain diplomatic ties with Taiwan.
China’s government does not allow countries to have official ties with both itself and Taiwan, which Beijing considers its own territory.