China Pledges $20 Billion in Loans to Revive Middle East

Xi Jinping
Since taking office, Xi has overseen a concerted effort to expand Chinese influence in the Middle East and Africa.

On Tuesday, Chinese President Xi Jinping pledged $20 billion in loans, and about $106 million in financial aid, to Middle East nations, as part of what he called an oil and gas plus model to revive economic growth in the region.

The money will be for “projects that will produce good employment opportunities and positive social impact in Arab States that have reconstruction needs,” said Xi.

China has already invested vast sums and ramped up engagement in the Middle East in recent years as Arab nations play an important role in Xi's signature Belt and Road foreign policy plan for strong trade routes linking China with central and southeast Asia.

The financial largesse has raised concerns over the vulnerability of poor nations to such massive debt.