At China’s Belt and Road Forum, Guterres calls for ‘inclusive, sustainable and durable’ development

China’s international trade and economic development plan – known as the Belt and Road Initiative – could contribute to a more equitable, prosperous world, and to reversing the negative impact of climate change, Secretary-General António Guterres said on Friday, speaking in Beijing, China.

Addressing Chinese President Xi Jinping and dozens of other state leaders at the Second Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation, Mr. Guterres urged the international community to “come together” in mobilizing resources to implement the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and “to stop runaway climate change.”

“China’s leadership on climate action is helping to show the way,” said the UN chief, noting the $125 billion investment made by the Government in 2017, in renewable energy.

He pledged the support of United Nations country teams – which comprise UN agencies, founds and programmes operating in a country – saying the pillars of the Belt and Road Initiative link to the 17 SDGs, which include ending extreme poverty and hunger, and can translate into “real-life progress for people.”

That means also helping to close the financing gaps for achieving the SDGs, he said noting the   nearly $1 trillion needed for infrastructure investments in developing countries.

Looking globally, Mr. Guterres said that countries today need a way to transition from an “unsustainable, fossil-fuelled grey economy to a clean, green, low-carbon energy future.”

Noting that at least 75 per cent of the infrastructure the world needs by 2050 has yet to be built, Mr. Guterres lauded China for its investment in renewable energy job creation and technologies.

“I see the Belt and Road Initiative as an important space where green principles can be reflected in green action,” he told the Forum.

Earlier, noted there was now “a unique opportunity to build a new generation of climate resilient and people-centred cities and transit systems, and energy grids that prioritize low emissions and sustainability.”

While in Beijing, Mr. Guterres, who is joined on the visit by Liu Zhenmin, Under-Secretary-General at the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA), will meet one-on-one with President Xi and other senior officials. On Saturday, he is due to participate in a roundtable on promoting green and sustainable development.

How Djibouti like Zambia is about to loose its port to China

One such African country that is exhibiting all the red flag signals of going Sri Lankan and now Zambian way is Djibouti


Chinese President Xi Jinping shakes hands with Djibouti’s President Ismail Omar Guelleh

Beijing’s cumulative loans to Africa since 2000 amounted to $124-billion by 2016, according to figures compiled by the China-Africa Research Initiative (CARI).

Djibouti is projected to take on public debt worth around 88 percent of the country’s overall $1.72 billion GDP, with China owning the lion’s share of it.

On March 2018, Djibouti signed a partnership agreement with a Singaporean company that works with China Merchants Port Holdings Co. or CMPort—the same state-owned corporation that gained control of the Hambantota port in Sri Lanka—to build the Doraleh Multipurpose Port.

In recent years, China has emerged as a key investor and a generous, ready and easy lender to African countries.

Beijing’s cumulative loans to Africa since 2000 amounted to $124-billion by 2016, according to figures compiled by the China-Africa Research Initiative (CARI) at Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies in the United States.

Angola, Ethiopia, Sudan, Kenya and the Democratic Republic of Congo respectively, were the top beneficiaries of these loans. Angola’s oil-related loans worth $21.2 billion since 2000 total roughly a quarter of cumulative Chinese loans to the entire continent.

“Half of those loans were given in the past four years,” Janet Eom, an associate researcher at CARI, told DW. “So Africa’s debt to China is becoming more of a concern moving forward.”

While African Presidents are  at least this time round somehow exempted from the indignity of being talked down while clutching their begging bowls at western capitals before a few notes is thrown into their bowls, the readily available Chinese loans are not entirely risk free.

Economists and other international financial institutions are becoming increasingly worried that the East Asian giant under a careful disguised “debt trap” diplomacy is burying many developing and poor countries in massive debt and then forcing the highly indebted countries to hand over some of their key infrastructures’ such as the case of Sri Lanka.

One such African country that is exhibiting all the red flag signals of going Sri Lankan and now Zambian way is Djibouti.

Djibouti lies more than 2,500 miles from Sri Lanka but the East African country faces a predicament similar to what its peer across the sea confronted in 2017, after borrowing more money from China than it could pay back.

In both countries, the money went to infrastructure projects under the aegis of China’s Belt and Road Initiative.

Sri Lanka racked up more than $8 billion worth of debt to Chinese sovereign-backed banks at interest rates as high as 7 percent reaching a level too high to service. With nearly all its revenue going toward debt repayment, in 2017 after being pushed to the wall, Sri Lanka threw in the towel and handed over the Chinese-built port at Hambantota under a 99-year lease with China having a 70 percent stake.

Djibouti is projected to take on public debt worth around 88 percent of the country’s overall $1.72 billion GDP, with China owning the lion’s share of it, according to a report published in March by the Center for Global Development.

At the end of 2016 China owned 82% of Djibouti’s external debt.

On March 2018, Djibouti signed a partnership agreement with a Singaporean company that works with China Merchants Port Holdings Co. or CMPort—the same state-owned corporation that gained control of the Hambantota port in Sri Lanka—to build the Doraleh Multipurpose Port.

That project was completed in May 2017.

The port is significant not only because it sits next to China’s only overseas military base  but also because it is the main access point for American, French, Italian and Japanese bases in Djibouti and is used — because of its strategic location — by parts of the U.S. military that operate in Africa, the Middle East and beyond.

One concern is that the Djibouti government, facing mounting debt and increasing dependence on extracting rents, would be pressured to hand over control of Camp Lemonnier to China.

In a letter to National Security Advisor John Bolton in May, Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.) and Sen. Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.), two members of the Senate Armed Service Committee, wrote that Djibouti’s  President Guelleh seems willing to “sell his country to the highest bidder,” undermining U.S. military interests.

“Djibouti’s now identified as one of those countries that are at high risk of debt distress. So, that should be sending off all sorts of alarm bells for Djiboutians as well as for the countries that really rely on Djibouti, such as the United States,” said Joshua Meservey, a senior policy analyst at the Heritage Foundation.

And that’s not all, China is not done yet with Djibouti, Beijing has been earmarked the country as one of 68 countries set to be involved in its ambitious One Belt and One Road Initiative (OBOR).

Problem is eight of the 68 countries involved in the Belt and Road Initiative currently face unsustainable debt levels, according the Center for Global Development’s report.

The eight nations are Djibouti, Kyrgyzstan, Laos, the Maldives, Mongolia, Montenegro, Pakistan, and Tajikistan.

As past experiences have shown the eight nations will certainly be enticed to chew more than they can swallow and by the end of it end up being even poorer than they are now.

As the cradle of mankind continues to sink deeper into debt condemning future generations to economic slavery, the late Whitney Houston feat Deborah Cox classic ‘Same Script, Different Cast’  has never rang truer.

Published courtesy of APO Group on behalf of Business Insider.

Sierra Leone: Government ministers address the press on outcomes of China-Africa Summit

Ministers who returned with His Excellency President Julius Maada Bio from the combined trips of a state visit and the Forum for Africa-China Cooperation Summit (FOCAC) in Beijing have addressed the press on sector specific interests.


Present at the conference hall of the Ministry of Information and Communications at Youyi Building in Freetown were the Finance Minister, Jacob Jusu Saffa, Development and Economic Planning Minister, Nabeela Tunis, Agriculture Minister, Joseph Ndanema, Information and Communications Minister, Mohamed Rhaman Swaray, Trade Minister, Peter Bayuku Conteh, and Press Secretary and Presidential Spokesman, Yusuf Keketoma Sandi.

Mr Saffa, who stayed in China, after the team returned, to complete a series of meetings, said there was need to firm up talks and get commitment around priority projects, debt negotiations and cancellation and to build investor confidence. He said because the New Direction government wanted to engage the Chinese on a win-win partnership on the Lungi Bridge project and others, they thought they must have their own independent data which they were now working on to help them negotiate from a position of strength.

“The Chinese government is giving us RMB 250 million, approximately US$ 40m, as budgetary support. This, in addition to our debt being cancelled, will help our current effort of economic expansion, exchange rate stabilisation and will boost the country as an emerging market,” he said, and assured journalists that they were confident in the content of their negotiations with the Chinese so far.

He said with the Chinese they hoped to access private capital that would not put contingent liability on the government, in the sense that the interest rate would be within reach in the form of concessional loans and which could be paid over a long term period, adding that that arrangement was compatible with Sierra Leone People’s Party government’s strategy.

“You don’t want to go for a loan with over 25 per cent interest rate and that you pay over a five year period, or a loan that creates problems for you. China is a very good source for private capital. It has worked for countries like South Africa, Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania that have developed massive projects ranging from US$1 billion to US$3 billion and up to US$5 billion in Ethiopia and other places,” he said, adding that the government was working on plausible projects that would attract huge grants and concessional loans from the US$60 billion the Chinese government had put aside for Africa.

The minister of agriculture said they explored opportunities around seed production and investment in rice cultivation and irrigation technology to improve on farming outputs and achieve the ultimate goal of adding value to raw materials. He said when they visited the China National Hybrid Rice Research and Development Centre in the Hunan Province, they were addressed by scientists and had discussions on the possibility of knowledge transfer.

“Apart from that, the Chinese Government have agreed to provide 50 scholarships annually to the government for Sierra Leoneans to specialise in different disciplines. Also, they have agreed to help us with 6,100 metric tonnes (about 122,000 bags) of rice,” Mr Ndanema disclosed.

While the trade minister talked on his engagement with potential investors, the minister of development, Mrs Tunis, reiterated the fact that inasmuch as the FOCAC meetings were really important and had been fruitful, she reminded the media that the country had a foreign policy of non-alignment.

“The media should focus on and ask questions around real issues when they meet government ministers from very important trips like these, otherwise we will lose the real essence of such engagements,” she said.

Minster of Communications, Mr Swaray, said he was happy to report his quick achievements in starting the negotiations and signing the memorandum of understanding with StarTimes, a Chinese multinational media company with strong presence in Africa, to bolster the country’s digital migration process and transform the public broadcaster, SLBC, which is still analogue based and operated.

He also disclosed that he had discussions on the possibility of an e-government with Huawei Technologies, a Chinese multinational networking, telecommunications equipment, and services company and the largest telecommunications equipment manufacturer in the world.

Lone Congolese Bank to Sign the China-Africa Inter Bank Association Establishment Agreement

Wednesday 5 September, 16 African banks including RAWBANK, the first banking institution in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), and China Development Bank (CDB) signed an agreement for the establishment of the China-Africa Inter Bank Association in Beijing (CAIBA).

Creation of the China-Africa Interbank Association, September 5, 2018

Creation of the China-Africa Interbank Association, September 5, 2018

RAWBANK (, the only Congolese bank to have been selected as founding member of this cooperation, hence assumes its leading role in the Congolese banking sector alongside international and African banks. This agreement marks the official establishment of the first China-Africa financial cooperation multilateral mechanism.

Based on the presentation by H.E Xi Jinping, President of China, aimed at enhancing China-Africa relations and promoting “10 principal cooperation plans” between this country and the African continent, “eight major actions” of China-Africa cooperation were planned in order to advance the partnership.

Taking into account the deficit in meeting the funding needs of African countries with regard to industrialization, infrastructure connectivity and poverty alleviation, a closer collaboration between Chinese financial institutions and African countries was decided.

Within this context, the China Development Bank (CDB), represented by its President, Mr Hu Huaibang, and peer financial institutions in Africa jointly established the China-Africa Inter Bank Association (CAIBA), which is a concrete move in achieving win-win cooperation and better quality and higher common development.

RAWBANK, Congo’s lone bank to be selected owing to its leading position in the banking sector for more than 16 years, is henceforth one of the 16 founding members of CAIBA alongside international and Pan-African banks such as Standard Bank, Absa, Attijariwafa Bank, to name only a few.

With CDB, CAIBA will, in the long term, enhance financial cooperation between all member banks to advance partnership in various domains such as China-Africa infrastructure interconnection, international cooperation and exchange in the humanities.

This agreement is proof of CDB and RAWBANK commitment to strengthen the economic ties and investments between China and African countries, as part of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC).

As the Chinese government’s financial institution for development, the CDB ( has always put a premium on cooperation with Africa. Since the launch of funding cooperation with Africa in 2006, the CDB has continually widened its cooperation with the financial institutions of African countries by investing and funding over USD 50 billion in close to 500 projects in 43 African countries.

The CDB encourages Chinese enterprises to invest in Africa, assists African local governments in solving problems such as funding deficits and infrastructure construction delays, and strives to develop economic and commercial cooperation, increase employment and spur economic growth in African countries.

Established in 2002 by the Rawji Group, operating in the Democratic Republic of Congo since the start of the 20th century in the areas of trade, distribution and industry, RAWBANK ( is the country’s largest bank as it was the first-ever to exceed 1 billion dollars in total turnover in 2015. Having more than 1 600 staff members with close to 100 sales points, 300 000 customers and 25% of market shares, RAWBANK is a key player in the development of Congo’s economy. Having been certified and won and award, it is today considered a crucial financial stakeholder in the DRC, for individuals and SMIs/SMEs, as well as for major enterprises and international institutions. RAWBANK is rated by Moody’s (B3), certified as ISO/IEC 20000 and ISO/IEC 27001, and has established funding partnerships with several international donors (Proparco, IFC, Shelter Africa, etc.). Safety, cost-effectiveness and sustainability are RAWBANK’s operational priorities to consolidate its growth strategy, in particular towards individuals and the private sector.

President Xi Jinping commits to deepen ties with Sierra Leone


The maiden State Visit by His Excellency President Julius Maada Bio to the People’s Republic of China has so far been a remarkable success with the two countries signing new bilateral agreements and President Xi Jinping hosting President Bio to a State Dinner.

At the welcome ceremony in Beijing, the host president praised President Bio for his leadership and commitment to strengthening bilateral relations between China and Sierra Leone.

“We are prepared to work with your new Government to deepen the ties with Sierra Leone,” President Xi Jinping assured President Bio.

President Xi Jinping also used the welcome ceremony to brief President Bio about the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) during which he said that the third such summit, this year, aims to build a shared future between China and Africa.

“I will like to work closely with you for the success of the FOCAC Summit,” President Xi Jinping told President Bio.

President Bio thanked President Xi Jinping for the invitation and warm hospitality accorded him and his entire delegation since their arrival. He expressed gratitude to the Government and People of China for the support China has given Sierra Leone, especially in difficult times.

“Since the establishment of bilateral diplomatic relations about 47 years ago, our two countries have shown mutual understanding and support on issues related to our core interests and major concerns. Our two countries have always stood together at all times,” President Bio told President Xi Jinping.

President Bio was also keen on establishing a new type of bilateral relations with China: “As the newly elected President, I am committed to strengthening our long-standing friendship by focusing on strategic and cooperative partnership. Attracting foreign direct investment from China; fixing the volume of trade imbalance between our two countries, and leveraging opportunities in development aid from China would be key in this strategic and cooperative partnership”.

During the welcome ceremony, new bilateral agreements were also signed between China and Sierra Leone. These agreements include: an agreement for China to send a team of 9 experts to conduct a feasibility study on the fish harbour project; an agreement for the Chinese Government to provide emergency humanitarian assistance of a batch of rice valued at 50 million RMB Yuan; a Memorandum of Understanding on cooperation within the framework of the Belt and Road Initiative and an agreement on the economic and technical cooperation with gratuitous assistance from the Chinese Government of 250 million RMB Yuan.

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After the signing of the bilateral agreements, President Xi Jinping also hosted President Bio to a colourful State Dinner with live band performance. Earlier, President Bio was given a guard of honour accompanied by President Xi Jinping at the Great Hall of the People. The impressive welcome ceremony, including the State Dinner and the new bilateral agreements, demonstrated that President Xi Jinping and President Bio represent the new China-Africa partnership.

Despite the huge significance of the State Visit and FOCAC Summit, His Excellency President Julius Maada Bio continues to demonstrate fiscal discipline by travelling with a lean delegation to the State Visit and FOCAC Summit.

President Xi re-elected Central Committee General Secretary

By Shifu Fadda  

Xi Jinping

Xi Jinping, addressing Journalists on Wednesday

China’s President, Xi Jinping, was re-elected General Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC) on Wednesday.

The re-election of President Xi took place at the 19th CPC Central Committee first plenary session on Wednesday morning. Xi presided over the meeting, which was attended by 204 members and 172 alternate members of the CPC Central Committee.

Six members were also elected to serve the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the 19th CPC Central Committee. They are China’s Premier – Li Keqiang, Li Zhanshu, Wang Yang, Wang Huning, Zhao Leji and Han Zheng.

The meeting elected members of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee and its Standing Committee.


Xi Jinping(C), with the newly-elected members of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the 19th CPC Central Committee; which includes: Han Zheng, Wang Huning, Li Zhanshu, Li Keqiang, Wang Yang and Zhao Leji.

Based on the nomination of the Political Bureau Standing Committee, it endorsed members of the Secretariat of the CPC Central Committee and decided on members of the CPC Central Military Commission. It also approved the election of the secretary, deputy secretaries and members of the Standing Committee of the 19th Central Commission for Discipline Inspection (CCDI).

President Xi presented the Party’s new central leadership at a press conference held on Wednesday at the Great Hall of the People.

He said his re-election is as a result of his good work and gives him more encouragement do greater things ahead.

He revealed that Li Keqiang has served on the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the 18th CPC Central Committee, while all the others were members of the Political Bureau of the 18th CPC Central Committee.

He thanked all other members of the Party for the trust they have placed in them, on behalf of the newly elected central leadership.

“We will work diligently to meet our duty, fulfill our mission and be worthy of their trust,” he said and added that for the past five years the party had set a broader agenda, some of which have been achieved and some in progress awaiting a successful completion.

“We are in a new era of socialism with Chinese characteristics. I look forward to the next five years in which I have seen several junctions and signposts ahead,” Xi said.

Looking forward to the years ahead, China will celebrate its 40th anniversary of its reform and opening up in 2018. President Xi told Journalists that this has enabled the country to be at peace and the people living a comfortable life.

“The great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation will become a reality with the cause of reform and opening up,” he said and assured that his administration will work to accomplish more development for the people.

2019, he said will mark the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China. Xi noted that “We have worked to achieve a sound economic growth and a prosperous People’s Republic of China.”

On poverty elimination, China is hoping to say goodbye to poverty by 2020. “In the march for common prosperity, no one will be left behind. We will remain committed to a people-centered development and create an environment for improved security and common prosperity,” Xi noted.

He continued by pointing out that the CPC will be celebrating its decades Centenary in 2021, which will be a prime of life. “As the world’s largest political party, it is capable of having a great reform of itself and become a backbone of promoting world peace and development. We will make all efforts to foster a political party of integrity and driving China’s development.”

The CPC, Xi said will strive to ensure peace and development for humanity because, as he put it “the party and people have gone through trials and tribulations”. “The people are the creators of history. As long as we rely on them we are bound to bring development come rain or shine,” he assured.

A total of 452 major political parties in 165 countries have sent 855 messages of congratulation to the Communist Party of China (CPC) since the opening of the 19th CPC National Congress, Xi Jinping said Wednesday.

Of these congratulatory messages, 814 came from heads of state or governments, leaders of political parties, and organizations. “On behalf of the CPC Central Committee, I wish to convey our sincere appreciation to them all,” Xi said.

55.64 million Chinese lifted out of poverty …five years of President Xi’s leadership

By Shifu Fadda 

China continues to score major successes in its poverty reduction drive. The country, under the leadership of President Xi Jinping, is hoping to end poverty buy 2020.


Xi Jinping, General Secretary of the Communist Party of China (CPC)

The process of poverty alleviation has been further speeding up since the 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China in 2012.

China Daily, a local newspaper report that from 2013 to 2016 alone, 55.64 million people in China had been lifted out of poverty. The number is estimated to be more than 10 million in 2017, which means China has helped more than 13 million people out of poverty on average each year during the past five years.

To put into perspective the significance of 718 million people, the number is larger than the population of the European Union and Russia combined. It is more than twice the population of the United States, or 10 percent of the planet’s entire population.

For Jiang Yu, an associate researcher at the Development Research Center of the State Council, the glorious achievements of China’s poverty alleviation are the best evidence of the CPC insisting on people-centeredness.

“People-centeredness” is what Xi Jinping, general secretary of the Communist Party of China Central Committee, emphasized in his keynote speech delivered at a high-level workshop on July 26.

In that speech, Xi made a major strategic judgment that socialism with Chinese characteristics has entered a new development stage, and required the making of policies and plans that suit the needs of the epoch and meet the needs of the people. Xi emphasized that the CPC must cling to the characteristics of the development stage as well as the Chinese people’s pursuit of happy and prosperous lives.

Jiang said that people-centeredness is “a main foundation of historical materialism, an essential part of the communism theory.”

“The main logic is that human labor created all value and the people who labor created history. Therefore, the common ultimate goal of development paths should be benefiting the people.”


The majority of the country’s 1.3 billion citizens now covered by the basic medical security fund

Jiang agreed that holding to the two principles of the characteristics of the development stage and people-centeredness is the prerequisite for pushing forward the construction of socialism with Chinese characteristics.

Some of the problems that China has faced since it adopted the market economy in the past several decades, such as industrial overcapacity, widening gaps between the rich and poor, environmental pollution and financial bubbles, can be solved more quickly and more efficiently compared with Western countries as long as the advantages of China’s socialist system are fully used to serve people-centeredness, he said.

Lyu Jia, an associate professor of Marxism studies at Tsinghua University, said: “China has been on a fast but steady rising path. The five years after the 18th Party Congress are especially amazing because they see China not only adjusting economic structure and keeping economic growth, but also implementing many key projects that benefit the people.”

These projects cover almost every aspect of Chinese people’s daily life. For example, by the end of 2016, the majority of the country’s 1.3 billion citizens have been covered by the basic medical security fund. More than 10 million families now participate in the national affordable housing project.

Lyu also said that Xi’s keynote speech, especially the two points of China having entered a new development period and the essential need for people-centeredness, point out the direction for the coming 19th Party National Congress, which will open on Wednesday.

Lyu also said people-centeredness is a key part of Xi’s theories about governance. “We must answer our own questions with our own theories,” Lyu said. “That China has entered a new development stage and the necessity of insisting on people-centeredness is the essential strategic judgments of Xi about China, and they should guide us like torches for walkers on roads.”

Zhang Xixian, a professor specializing in Party building at the Central Party School, said people-centeredness is a chief principle of all major policies of the Party with Xi as the core. “Xi is full of love for the people and the land that cultivates the people,” he said. “And he made many inspection tours to the regions that lag relatively behind in economic development. He also opened the path for targeted poverty alleviation.”

These, according to Zhang, show that people-centeredness is deeply rooted in Xi’s mind. “With Xi’s development strategy of people-centeredness, the CPC has carved people’s happiness deeply on the milestone toward realizing our Chinese Dream,” he said.