Aid, trade package readied for Africa

By Wu Jiao (China Daily/Xinhua)
Updated: 2006-11-03 06:41

China will announce a package of measures covering aid, investment, trade and social development for African countries during the weekend Beijing Summit of the Forum on China-Africa Co-operation (FOCAC).

Vice-Commerce Minister Wei Jianguo made the remarks yesterday at the closing ceremony of the Senior Officials Meeting of FOCAC.

Chinese President Hu Jintao (L) and Seychellois President James Alix Michel review a honor guard during a welcome ceremony at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing Thursday, Nov. 2, 2006. James Alix Michel is in Beijing for a state visit to China and the Beijing Summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC), which is scheduled for Nov. 4-5. [Xinhua]

The programme aims to "deepen mutually beneficial co-operation and realize common development," Wei said.

Under the FOCAC framework, China has already taken a series measures including debt relief, tariff exemptions and personnel training to push China-Africa partnership to a new level, according to Wei, also sectary-general of the summit's organizing committee.

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From 2000 to 2005, trade between China and Africa saw a rise of 30 per cent each year while keeping to the objective of striking a balance. From January to September, bilateral trade amounted to US$40.56 billion and is expected to exceed US$50 billion for the whole year.

During the period, China waived debt of 10.9 billion yuan (US$1.38 billion) owed by 31 African countries and extended zero-tariff treatment to selected imports.

It also helped establish 900 projects and trained more than 1,460 professionals in various specialities.

FOCAC is a mechanism for dialogue and co-operation set up in 2000 to cope with new challenges and facilitate common development.

The summit, which will open tomorrow with the participation of heads of state or government from 48 African countries, is expected to come up with two milestone documents a declaration of the Beijing Summit and the Beijing Action Plan (2007-09).

The two-day meeting of senior officials endorsed the draft documents.

"We have reviewed all aspects of our co-operation including infrastructure, health, education and trade. They can be easily adapted and presented to the leaders at the summit," Haile-Kiros Gessesse, a special envoy of Ethiopia, the co-chair country for FOCAC, told China Daily.

"The Beijing Declaration will aim to establish a new type of strategic partnership between China and Africa based on equality, mutual trust, economic win-win co-operation and cultural exchanges," said Gessesse.

Others shared Gessesse's views, describing the senior officials' meeting as successful prelude to the summit.


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