China-Africa trade expected to top US$100 billion by 2010

Updated: 2006-11-04 17:23

China and Africa should fully tap cooperation potential and strive to bring their trade volume to US$100 billion by 2010, Premier Wen Jiabao proposed in Beijing Saturday afternoon at the High-level Dialogue and 2nd Conference of Chinese and African Entrepreneurs.

The figure will more than double the 2005 level, about US$39.7 billion. In the first nine months, China-Africa trade surged to US$40.6 billion, up 42 percent year-on-year.

"Although China's trade has been running a deficit against Africa in recent years, China still hopes to further expand its import from African countries," Wen said.

At the opening ceremony Saturday morning of the Beijing Summit of Forum on China-Africa Cooperation, Chinese President made fresh pledges to facilitate bilateral trade and cooperation. He said that China will double its aid to Africa by 2009, increase from 190 to over 440 the number of tariff-free import items from the least developed African countries having diplomatic ties with China.

China will also provide 3 billion U.S. dollars in preferential loans and 2 billion U.S. dollars of export credits over the next three years and establish a special fund of 5 billion US dollars to encourage Chinese investment in Africa.

Calling these measures "pragmatic and stimulative", Wen made five proposals to entrepreneurs from both and Africa.

He said both sides should work closer in service sectors, tourism, finance and telecommunications in particular, to cultivate new economic growth points and facilitate trade in a more balanced and healthier manner.

He said China will encourage capable and reputed indigenous companies to invest in Africa and spread their technology and management experiences. "We will also encourage capable Chinese companies to invest in the trade and economic cooperation zones in Africa," he said.

"African companies interested in investing in China are welcome, " Wen said.

Wen vowed to raise the level of China's aid to Africa. "China will, in accordance with its own level of development, gradually expand the scale of its aid to African countries, and help African countries raise their ability of self-development and promote the comprehensive economic and social development," Wen said.

He said the aid to Africa should give more priority to public welfare projects that concern the local people's livelihood, especially those on agriculture, poverty alleviation, medical care and health, education, sports, water supply, housing and environmental protection.

Wen noted that China will cancel debt owed by the heavily indebted poor countries and the least developed countries in Africa to alleviate their burden.

Wen suggested to promote cooperation between Chinese and African enterprises, saying the Chinese government will continue to provide help for the exchanges and cooperation of enterprises of both sides.

Wen also said the personnel training for African countries should be increased, adding China will increase the number of scholarships to African students and will train 15,000 African professionals over the coming three years to help the construction of African countries.

A total of 27 presidents and 6 prime ministers from Africa attended the opening ceremony of the conference. Prior to the opening ceremony, Wen held a welcoming ceremony in honor of the African leaders and other guests who participated in the conference.

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