Big Money

China Endows Africa with $10 Billion

The giving season has come a little early for China, which is gifting Africa with $10 billion in low-interest loans to help stimulate businesses, in addition to forgiving debts on some previous loans. Prime Minister Wen Jiabao also pledged to address climate change by initiating clean-energy projects, remove some export tariffs, and sponsor initiatives in health, education, culture, and agriculture. China's benevolent stance toward Africa has already resulted in preferential treatment; the country enjoys access to oil and minerals from the resource-rich continent. But critics say the relationship is more exploitive than philanthropic. The nation is lax on labor and safety conditions in mines, and the relationship has resulted in padded orders for Chinese goods and projects.