China aims to boost Africa ties
EGYPT : Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao met African leaders on Sunday,
aiming to boost a relationship which politically goes back decades and
is now.economically booming - to the discomfort of some in the West.
|* All eyes on
offers of new Chinese aid
* Growing relationship draws
fire in West
* Chinese commentators say West
envious of friendship
All eyes will be on new offers of aid to Africa at the meeting in
Egypt, after President Hu Jintao promised $5 billion in loans and credit
at the last summit in Beijing in 2006.
Blossoming trade and business ties have drawn Western criticism that
Beijing is only interested in African resources. Wen himself underlined
the strength of the relationship. "Despite the great distance between
China and Africa, the friendship between our two peoples has remained
strong," he told a business forum in the Egyptian resort of Sharm
El-Sheikh before the main meeting.
Chinese officials have been coy about exactly how much more Wen may
offer. But a draft action plan, details of which were obtained by
Reuters, showed China will increase aid to African countries.
"China has all along had an interest in Africa's development, and
genuinely wants to build homes for Africans and make a contribution
towards improving livelihoods," Chinese Commerce Minister Chen Deming
wrote in the state-run International Business Daily this week.
China's friendship with Africa dates back to the 1950s, when Beijing
backed liberation movements in the continent fighting to throw off
\Trade has jumped in the past decade, driven by Chinese hunger for
resources to power its economic boom and African demand for cheap
Still, this has not been without its critics, who say China is only
interested in African resources and supports governments with dubious
human rights records as a means to get them.