China Pledges $20 Billion in Loans for Arab States to Revive Economy

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Shaikh Sabah Al Ahmed Al Sabah, Amir of Kuwait, right, waves as he stands with Chinese President Xi Jinping after speaking at the opening session of the 8th Ministerial Meeting of the China-Arab States Cooperation Forum in Beijing on Tuesday. — AP

BEIJING (AFP) — China will provide Arab states with $20 billion in loans for economic development, President Xi Jinping told top Arab officials on Tuesday, as Beijing seeks to build its influence in the Middle East and Africa.

The money will be earmarked 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.

It is part of a special Chinese programme for “economic reconstruction” and “industrial revitalisation,” Xi told participants at a China-Arab States forum in Beijing’s Great Hall of the People.

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.

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