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The conference, the sixth since 2003 and officially known as the High-Level Dialogue between Chinese and African Leaders and Business Representatives, runs from next Monday to Tuesday as part of a series of conferences under the 2018 Beijing Summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation.

The statement read in part: "During the 6-day official visit of the Nigerian President, he is expected to join his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping to witness the signing of an agreement on the National Information and Communication Technology Infrastructure Backbone Phase 11 (NICTIB 11) between Galaxy Backbone Limited and Huawei Technologies Limited (HUAWEI) at the cost of USA $328 million facility provided by the Chinese EXIM Bank".

Xi also called for concerted efforts to make the China-Africa cooperation flourishing, make the BRICS cooperation stronger and better, closely communicate and coordinate within multilateral frameworks, protect the legitimate rights of developing countries, promote democracy of global relations, propel the worldwide system and global order to develop in a more equitable and reasonable direction.

In his talks with Guinea President Alpha Conde on Saturday, Chinese President Xi Jinping said relations between China and Africa were developing fast.

The loans, said Sisulu, were channeled towards education and training, health, infrastructure development, tourism and skills exchanges across the African continent.

During the last Focac meeting in Johannesburg in December 2015, said Mr Zhao, China pledged $60 billion in loans to Africa and 90 percent of it has been disbursed and processed.

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"When it comes to the debt problem, there really is not that much Chinese debt in Africa", said Qian.

The summit will conclude with the signing of a declaration and an action plan, providing guidelines for China-Africa cooperation for the next three years.

China's investments in Africa have also grown significantly.

"It would be recalled that President Buhari has consistently acknowledged Chinese support for infrastructure development in Nigeria". Projects completed under the initiative include the Mombasa-Nairobi Railway (June 2017), the Djibouti-Addis Ababa (Ethiopia) Railway (January 2018) and the 186.5 kilometers Abuja-Kaduna (Nigeria) rail line (July 2018).

Carrozza noted that China's reduced investments in Africa might push it to diversify how it engaged with the continent, including a stronger aid agenda and a focus on security interests, while African governments sought out a wider variety of lenders.

India too in recent years has stepped up its political, diplomatic and economic engagement with Africa in recent years.


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