Ramaphosa: SA has signed several deals to boost economic ties with China

Chinese President Xi Jinping

It officially kicks off on September 3 through to September 4.

China and Africa represent different stages on the same development path, with Africa remaining in a primary stage of development with huge potential yet to be unleashed. "Some people say it's unlikely, but I believe it's totally possible". As part of bolstering its soft power capacity, China has prioritised people-to-people diplomacy, providing scholarships and opening more than 80 Confucius Institutes in 41 African countries.

A more well-known name would be Huajian, a Chinese shoemaker that produces for brands like GUESS and Calvin Klein.

More concrete projects are expected to come into being during the upcoming series of FOCAC events, including the High-Level Dialogue of China-Africa Leaders and Business Representatives and the 6th China-Africa Business Forum.

China has denied engaging in "debt trap" diplomacy, but Xi is likely to use the gathering of African leaders to offer a new round of financing, following a pledge of US$60 billion at the last summit three years ago in South Africa.

After the round table meeting, Presidents Xi Jinping, Cyril Ramaphosa, and leader of the new African co-chair of the FOCAC will jointly meet the press and comprehensively introduce the outcomes of the Summit.

"The reality is that Chinese debt as a percentage of total African debt is still relatively small", said Kenny Fihla, Standard Bank's chief executive for corporate banking.

"In terms of cooperation with China, African countries know best", widely read tabloid the Global Times wrote in an editorial on Monday.

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According to a dispatch from Beijing, President Weah is expected to hold bilateral discussions with his Chinese counterpart, President Xi Jinping on Saturday, September 1, 2018. She will be joined at the conference by other African First Ladies who will later release a joint declaration on AIDS prevention.

By comparison, its first Chinese loan was $620 million over 20 years at 2.85 percent, and it came with a seven-year grace period.

Cooperation under the initiative, which certainly goes beyond infrastructure, is expected to be a major topic of the upcoming FOCAC summit.

China's attraction stems from its ability to offer financing from state-owned enterprises or funds such as the China-Africa Development Fund or its Silk Road fund, besides special goal vehicles that avoid sovereign debt on balance sheets.

African Union Commissioner for Trade and Industry Albert Muchanga will take stock of the infrastructure development, industrialisation and peace and development programmes, and agree on the priorities for the coming years. The last decade has seen a boom in African Eurobond issuance.

Chinese state-owned companies have aggressively pursued large investments in Africa, whose vast resources have helped fuel China's transformation into an economic powerhouse.

Liu suggests the two sides roll out a series of long-term measures to boost cooperation in education, healthcare, sports, music, tourism, and the protection of intangible cultural heritage.

The interest in the forum is a result of China's growing influence on the African continent and proves the FOCAC has been pragmatic and efficient, analysts said.

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