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China, Africa set up new partnership, sign trade deals
Cat : Sustainable development
Date : 2006-11-06 12:07:52                      Reader : 476
We advise US to follow China model with full respect and dignity of others. Military baser are not the model to be built every where.


Associated France Press (AFP) 6/11/2006

China, Africa set up new partnership, sign trade deals


by Francois Bougon

BEIJING (AFP) - China and Africa have signed trade deals worth 1.9 billion dollars on the final day of a historic summit that saw the Asian giant deepen economic and political ties with the resource-rich continent.

The leaders of China and 48 African nations wrapped up their two-day meet with a joint declaration announcing a new strategic partnership based on "political equality and mutual trust, economic win-win cooperation and cultural exchanges".

"We declare that the development of our friendly relations and cooperation are in accordance with the ... principles of peaceful coexistence," Chinese President Hu Jintao said, reading from the declaration Sunday.

The declaration and an accompanying "action plan" to map their political and economic cooperation over the next three years came after deals between China and 10 African nations worth 1.9 billion dollars were announced.

By far the biggest deal was one involving the building of an aluminium production plant in Egypt worth 938 million dollars, according to a copy of the agreement given to reporters, with no timeframe or further details given.

Other deals included a 300-million-dollar contract for Chinese firms to upgrade a highway in Nigeria, develop a 200-million-dollar copper project in Zambia and set up a 60-million-dollar textile business in Sudan.

Some of the other countries to also sign trade deals with China on Sunday were South Africa, Kenya, Cape Verde and Ghana.

With 48 of Africa's 53 nations represented, China hailed the summit as its biggest and most important international gathering since the founding of the communist regime in 1949.

As part of China's renewed commitment to Africa, Hu told the opening of the summit that Beijing would double aid and offer five billion dollars in loans and credits to the continent by 2009.

Hu said Beijing would also cancel more debt owed by poor African countries, without saying how much.

"China will forever be a good friend, good partner and good brother of Africa," Hu said in a speech at the Great Hall of the People.

"Common development is the shared aspiration of the Chinese and African peoples."

In addition, China announced Saturday a five-billion-dollar development fund to encourage Chinese companies to invest in Africa would be set up.

Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao said Saturday China intended to more than double its bilateral trade with Africa to 100 billion dollars by 2010.

Trade between China and Africa in 2005 amounted to 39.7 billion dollars -- nearly a tenfold increase from 1995 -- and was likely to reach 50 billion dollars this year, according to Chinese officials.

Oil is a big part of that rise, with China last year buying 38.3 million tons of crude from Africa, accounting for 30 percent of its oil imports, according to official statistics.

No oil or gas deals were announced during the summit but China has steadily been increasing its presence in Africa's energy sector this year through other means, primarily by sending its leaders to resource-rich African countries.

Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing told a post-summit press conference that Western criticism of China's energy ambitions in Africa were "unreasonable".

He said China was not pursuing a monopoly of oil resources in Africa.

The West has also criticized China for ignoring rights abuses and environmental concerns as it scrambled for business in Africa, but Chinese and African officials insisted here that increased trade brought benefits to their peoples.

China has made no apologies for inviting the likes of Sudanese President Omar al-Beshir and Zimbabwe's Robert Mugabe -- both accused of widespread human rights violations -- to Beijing.

David Zweig, director of the Center on China's Transnational Relations at Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, said the summit was important for China's plans to become more deeply involved in Africa.

"It's the biggest event in terms of China refocusing its attention on the developing world," Zweig said.

"They are trying to solidify their relations with all these countries in Africa."

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