From Volume 36, Issue 44 of EIR Online, Published Nov. 13, 2009
Africa News Digest

Africa Welcomes China's Economic Cooperation

Nov. 9 (EIRNS)—The two-day Forum on China-Africa Cooperation which took place in Sharm el-Sheik, Egypt, ended today. This was the fourth FOCAC meeting (they occur every three years), and was welcomed enthusiastically by leaders of the 50 African nations who participated.

Rwandan President Paul Kagame, chairman of the East African Community, told the forum that trade between East African countries and China had grown by over 200% from 2007 to the present. He said, "We have, here, an invaluable opportunity not only to further pursue trade relations that can transform the lives of millions—but also to redefine the way we do business for sustainable wealth creation on both sides of the transaction."

At the conference, China pledged an additional $10 billion in concessional loans to African nations. China Commerce Minister Chen Deming also promised to open Chinese markets to African exports, and said China would exempt heavily indebted countries from paying low-interest loans that are due this year. He indicated that China would reduce tariffs on most goods from the least developed countries.

Chen said that China's goal is to concentrate on agriculture and infrastructure development, as well as trade and human resource development. China is actively pursuing China-Africa joint ventures.

Direct Chinese investment in Africa jumped from $491 million in 2003, to $7.8 billion last year. Trade between the two has increased tenfold since the start of the decade. Since the last summit three years ago, road, railway and other infrastructure projects have been launched with Chinese assistance in Algeria, Nigeria. Botswana, Tanzania, Uganda, Rwanda, and Djibouti, to name a few. Last year, a $7 billion development deal was offered to the Democratic Republic of Congo, and this year a $7-9 billion deal is being offered to Guinea.

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