China's economic growth has taken a dip this year, triggering a global commodities slump and causing Beijing to slash investment in Africa by more than 40 percent in the first six months of 2015.

Xi said that China has decided "to provide a total of USD 60 billion of funding support that includes USD 5 billion of grants in zero interest loans (and) USD 35 billion in preferential facility and export credit loans and concessional loans."

In a slew of pledges at his speech opening the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC), he also announced drought aid for the continent.

The two-day FOCAC meeting is the second time China has brought together African leaders since the forum was launched in Beijing in 2000.

Xi accompanied by his wife Peng Liyuan, landed in South Africa after a brief visit to Zimbabwe, where Chinese projects have helped prop up an economy plunged into crisis under President Robert Mugabe's rule.

He attended an African Union summit in the city earlier this year, leading to a huge furore when South Africa declined to arrest him despite a court order.

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