China to double aid to Africa by 2009

Updated: 2006-11-04 11:28

Beijing -- China will double its 2006 assistance to Africa by 2009 in an effort to forge a new type of strategic partnership and strengthen cooperation in more areas and at a higher level, President Hu Jintao said here Saturday while addressing the opening ceremony of the Beijing Summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC).

"In all these years, China has firmly supported Africa in winning liberation and pursuing development," Hu told an audience of 41 African heads of state or government, senior officials from 48 African countries and delegates from international organizations.

China has trained technical personnel and other professionals in various fields for Africa. It has built the Tanzam Railway and other infrastructure projects and sent medical teams and peacekeepers to Africa, he said.

China's aid to Africa dates back to 1950s.

By the end of 2005, China had helped establish more than 720 projects for Africa, offered over 18,000 governmental scholarships, dispatched more than 15,000 medical workers, and treated 170 million patients in Africa.

China had also exempted 10.9 billion yuan (US$1.38 billion) of debts of 31 heavily indebted and least developed African countries and eliminated tariffs on 190 categories of African imports to China.

"China is the first country that supports and helps us take up arms and strive for liberation. We regard the country as our brother or sister," said Alphaus Vehonga Muheua, president of the National Union of Namibian Workers, in an earlier interview with Xinhua.

Muheua said many public facilities in Namibia, including stadiums and roads, are built with aids from China. "We are now building the State House in our capital. It is another China-sponsored project."

Africa's energy sources, raw materials and industrial products have also begun to enter the Chinese market. The two sides have both benefited from closer trade and economic cooperation.

The two-day Beijing Summit of FOCAC focuses on "friendship, peace, cooperation and development", and the Chinese and African leaders will review the development of China-Africa relationship and blueprint future cooperation.

FOCAC is a mechanism for collective dialogue and cooperation jointly established by China and Africa to cope with new challenges and facilitate common development.

Since the FOCAC launch in 2000, three ministerial conferences have been held in Beijing and Addis Ababa, with an action plan discussed and passed, laying out cooperation programs between China and Africa from 2007 to 2009 under the FOCAC framework.

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