Malawi to benefit from China $60bn of aid and loans to Africa: ‘No political conditions attached’

Malawi government is set to benefit  over and above $100 million from the $60 billion in aid and loans for Africa which Chinese President Xi Jinping announced on Monday while hosting more than 40 of the continent’s leaders including Malawian President Peter Mutharika in Beijing.

China has denied engaging in ‘debt trap’ diplomacy .-Photo by Reuters

President Xi told African leaders that China’s investments on the continent have “no political strings attached” .-Photo by AFP

Chinese President Xi Jinping had a meeting with Malawian President Peter Mutharika ahead of FOCAC 2018 Beijing Summit

The money would be spent on eight initiatives over the next three years, including building more infrastructure and giving scholarships to young Africans, Chinese President said.

Unlike the Western nations support , Xi said China’s investment in Africa comes with “no political strings attached”.

Xi said s during a keynote address to the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation: “China does not interfere in Africa’s internal affairs and does not impose its own will on Africa.”

Chinese development ‘buffet’

Malawi has seen the benefits of decade-long diplomatic relations with China through infrastructure developments by the Chinese generally through loans such as  Parliament Buliding in Lilongwe,  Karonga- Chitipa Road, Bingu National Stadium, hotels and factories.

The Chinese are also financing a coal- fired power generation plant at Kam’mwamba which President Mutharika has underscored its priority to help abate Malawi’s energy woes.

There is also human resource capacity building through exchange programmes including the military and medical fields and scholarships that Malawi is benefitting from China.

And the southern African nation is set to benefit more  from China with the new $60 billion funds which included $15 billion in grants, interest-free loans and concessional loans, $20 billion in credit lines and a $10 billion special fund for development financing not on “vanity projects,” Xi said.

Chinese companies also will be encouraged to invest at least $10 billion in Africa over the next three years, state media reported.

The package outlined by Xi also includes medical aid, environmental protection, agricultural training and assistance, and government scholarships and vocational training for more than 100,000 young Africans.

The program is part of Xi’s broader Belt and Road Initiative, an ambitious $120-billion-plus project that aims to link 65 countries in Europe, Asia and Africa — together accounting for almost two-thirds of the world’s population — through infrastructure projects and trade.

Malawi move from aid to trade

Malawi leader Mutharika, who also had talks one-on-one with Xi, saidthe country wants to move out of poverty and hopes the Chinese support will bolster its  development agenda.

“We have chosen to stop depending on aid. Much of the aid to Africa was spent on services and consumption, and not so much on production. As such, we have chosen to move from aid to trade. But you cannot trade if you don’t produce goods.

“Therefore, we have chosen to become a producing and exporting nation. We have chosen to invest in key drivers of the economy that will see Malawi become a producing nation,” said Mutharika in China.

He said one of the necessary steps his administration has h taken is to start a Foreign Direct Investment Program.

“We have opened Malawi to do business with the world. And we are rising on the Global Index of Doing Business,” said Mutharika.

Win-win scenario

Speaking in an interview from Beijing, Minister of Industry, Trade and Tourism Henry Mussa who has accompanied President Mutharika, said highlighted what the President said  on seeking investment and trade.

Mussa: We are growing trade opportunities

“Malawi is exploring areas of trade with China through export markets in legumes like Soya, beans, kidney beans, groundnuts, cashew nuts, chick peas,” Mussa said.

He said another area is that of tourism which the country is exploring with China businesses.

“It’s a win-win situation, we are growing trade opportunities,” he said.

Mussa also said President Mutharika has pushed for  Kammwamba Coal–Fired Power Plant in Neno to be expedited and that  Energy China Engineering Group, a company sub-contracted to work on the 300 megawatt  project have pledged  to speed up construction works so that Malawi’s energy challenges are minimised.

New colonialism criticism ‘sour grapes’

Critics have  owever  said Malawi and the continent at large should strive for sustainable projects that strike a balance preserving national resources and easing the debt burden on future generations.

Rwandan President Paul Kagame, who chairs the African Union, said that rather than viewing the investment as a “debt trap,” other countries should be asking why they’re not giving Africa as much assistance as China.

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa also rebuffed suggestions that China is taking advantage of the continent. The leaders “refute the view that a new colonialism is taking hold in Africa, as our detractors would have us believe,” he told the forum.

Chinese state media outlets have been aggressively explaining why such investment is good for the continent — and positioning Xi as the champion of the African people.

Global Times reported Monday that Chinese loans can help African countries improve their infrastructure.

“We believe African people, instead of Western observers, know best what is most needed by the continent,” stated the paper. In an editorial, the paper said that the West just had “sour grapes” over China’s good relations with Africa.

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#DzukaniAmalawi
Guest
#DzukaniAmalawi

This is what worries me with my Malawi…..always has incoherent messages. Mr President indicated that the country will move away from trading unprocessed goods or natural resources and in the same vain his Minister of industry, Trade & Tourism is stating that Malawi will be exporting legumes. Why can Malawi not but machinery and plants from China and process these legumes to then export to China. Malawians will benefit more from beneficiation (it will provide employment for skilled and semi-skilled labour and we could demand more prices for our processed goods). Is this difficult to figure out. This is what… Read more »

Achiswe
Guest

In spite of what Xi Jingping says to the contrary, China believes in ‘quid pro quo’. What strings, hidden or otherwise, are attached to any financial aid? So far China’s ‘aid’ has done little, if anything, to alleviate the poverty of the mass of Malawians. Parliamentary buildings, hotels, stadiums, etc do little or nothing to move the country forward. Beware of the Chinese bearing gifts!

Make Malawi Great
Guest
Make Malawi Great

Chinese are on a mission to depict Africa’s resources..the day Africa will wake up that will be the day!! In Beijing you breathe particles no good air, the pollution is way over the top!! Malawi has fresh un-utilised resources there people are after! When done it will be like Kayalekela with no resources but presidential villas around the the state houses.

Ras Napokani
Guest
Ras Napokani

We managed seen any significant impact from western support , they provide much support so that we produce the law materials which they buy from us at low price and use them to produce high standard goods to sell us back at a high price and return part of the profits to us as aid so that we re-produce.

Our Malawi
Guest
Our Malawi

Only 40 African Leaders were at the meeting as such the minimum for each country should $1billion. Why are we so happy about $100 million? Komanso these Chinese should stop sending substandard products to Africa. .

Heavy-duty
Guest
Heavy-duty

Hahahaha jealous, bitterness, anger and envy is blocking you from seeing anything good. You have allowed your eyes to only see bad things. Sad indeed. But this is no surprise, that’s typical behaviour of Malawi opposition and their supporters. No wonder they will never rule this country anymore as people ate seeing. You ate on a self-destruct path.

Honara
Guest
Honara

True brother. Dull minds see nothing good. No wonder the dark species represented by one Tim Cloud thinks the best way to exist is to be walking on the streets of Malawi. Anzawo akupanga chitukuko iwo busy ati kukondweretsa azungu awo amene adawauza kuti azikwa….na kuma…..ko. Zauchitsiru zenizeni.

pathfinder
Guest
pathfinder

OK that’s good. so i guess when Chilima comes into power next year will change all that ndipo azachita promot business yake ya mandasi ija athatha kuwangongoza anthu ma K200,000 a business za mandasi. Ndimaso mphenya ake adzayesetsa kuti anthu azidzachita export mandasi ku mayiko akunja kkkkkkkkkk

Mulupale
Guest
Mulupale

Someone so dull here!

Ndikunyenyaninyenani Pumbwa Party
Guest

Honestly people don’t benefit from the Chinese. The Chinese don’t employ locals and when they do that they ill treat them and give them meagre salaries. I would not work as a slave. MCA brought Chint here and the Chinese failed to meet the MCA high standards of employment. Very cruel people.

Mlakaviwa
Guest
Mlakaviwa

African leaders waiting for free lunch from china

Luka
Guest
Luka

Truly, we have traveled a long way from “Give me my ten Tambala.”

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