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International relations

Xi pledges 1bn COVID vaccines doses at China-Africa forum

Continent serves as key supplier of crude oil and minerals for Beijing

Chinese President Xi Jinping gives a speech via video link at the opening of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation.   © Reuters

BEIJING (Reuters) -- President Xi Jinping on Monday said China would offer another 1 billion doses of COVID-19 vaccines to African countries and would encourage Chinese companies to invest no less than $10 billion in Africa over the next three years.

The pledge of additional vaccine doses -- on top of the nearly 200 million that China has already supplied to the continent -- comes as concerns intensify over the spread of a new variant of the coronavirus, known as omicron, which was first identified in southern Africa.

In a speech given via video link at the opening of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation, Xi also said a China-Africa cross-border yuan center would be set up to provide African financial institutions with a credit line of $10 billion, without giving further details.

China's total imports from Africa, one of its key sources of crude oil and mineral supply, will reach $300 billion in the next three years, Xi said, adding that the two sides would cooperate in areas such as health, digital innovation, trade promotion and green development.

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