labels: economy - general
China expanding into Africa with special investment zones news
04 November 2006

Mumbai: China, the world''s fastest-growing economy, is expanding into Africa in big way. China has proposed to set up as many as five special investment zones in Africa to boost Chinese investments in the continent. The government will also continue to provide preferential loans and credit to help support Chinese companies investing in Africa, he added. China will double its aid to Africa by 2009, set up a $5 billion fund for investments in the continent, and also provide $3 billion in loans over the next three years, President Hu Jintao said at the opening of the Beijing Summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation. He said China might also consider cancellation of some debt owed by Africa''s poorest nations Energy-hungry China had invested $6.27 billion in Africa as of end-2005, mostly in oil and gas projects. The country is targeting countries like Angola, Libya and Nigeria to meet its rising energy needs, which has almost doubled in a decade. Noting that trade between the two may double to $100 billion a year by 2010, President Hu Jintao said: ``China and Africa share increasing common interests and have a growing mutual need… To strengthen unity and cooperation with Africa is a key principle guiding China''s foreign policy.'''' "Common development is the shared aspiration of the Chinese and African peoples," he told an audience of 41 African heads of state or government, senior officials from 48 African countries and delegates from international organisations.

"We are committed to pursuing mutually beneficial cooperation to bring the benefits of development to our peoples," he said.

China will give Africa $2 billion in buyers'' credits over the next three years and also raise the number of tariff-free imports into China from its poorest countries to more than 440 from the present 190. By the end of 2005, China''s has helped build 720 projects in Africa. It has canceled 10.9 billion yuan ($1.4 billion) of debt for 31 heavily indebted and least developed African countries, Xinhua news agency said. China has now promised to train 15,000 African professionals, send 100 senior agricultural experts and set up 10 special agricultural technology centers in Africa in the next three years. It also proposed to build 30 hospitals in Africa and provide a 300 million yuan grant to fight malaria. China and Africa will sign two documents at the two-day summit - the Beijing declaration and an action plan for the years 2007 to 2009, which cover aspects of China-Africa relations and cooperation.

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China expanding into Africa with special investment zones