China is expected to allocate $20 billion in loans to Arab countries for economic development, President Xi Jinping told top Arab officials on Tuesday.
This pledge comes in line with Beijing’s plans to build its influence in the Middle East and Africa, French news agency AFP reported.
China will earmark this amount for “projects that will produce good employment opportunities and positive social impact in Arab States that have reconstruction needs,” said Xi, without providing further details.
Beijing is also prepared to provide another one billion Yuan to countries in the region to “build capacity for stability maintenance,” Xi said, using a term commonly associated with policing and surveillance, the news portal added.
“Since taking office, Xi has overseen a concerted effort to expand Chinese influence in the Middle East and Africa, including the construction of the country’s first military base in Arab League state Djibouti,” AFP said noted.
The Asian country has already provided vast sums to Arab countries, with Djibouti alone owing some $1.3 billion, according to estimates from the US-based China Africa Research Initiative.
“China welcomes opportunities to participate in the development of ports and the construction of railway networks in Arab states” as part of a “logistics network connecting Central Asia with East Africa and the Indian Ocean with the Mediterranean,” the news agency said, citing Xi as saying.