SHANGHAI: Premier Wen Jiabao Wednesday urged the
international community, developed countries in particular, to take more
substantial action to fulfil their commitment to assist the African continent.
He said the world should boost economic growth in Africa by making concrete
efforts in a number of areas including reduction or cancellation of debt and
transfer of technology.
"Africa needs to rely on itself for sustainable development but international
help is indispensable," Wen said.
He made the remarks at the opening ceremony of the annual meeting of the
African Development Bank Group (AfDB), which is being held in Asia for the first
time and the second time outside Africa.
Wen reaffirmed China's pledge made by President Hu Jintao at a summit with
African heads of state in Beijing last November, saying wide-ranging cooperation
has brought tangible interests to people on both sides.
fully deliver on our statements and we are working with African countries to
implement those measures," Wen said.
China had cancelled 10.9 billion yuan ($1.4 billion) of African debt and
announced additional relief of 10 billion yuan ($1.3 billion), the premier said.
He also urged that new ways be explored to upgrade cooperation, suggesting
the combination of government aid and business activities
Wen called for better project evaluation and higher efficiency of investment
and loans, which should focus on projects that deliver public benefits.
"We are very sincere in helping Africa beef up its economy," Wen said.
Themed "Africa and Asia: Partners in Development", the AfDB annual meeting is
scheduled to focus on infrastructure development in Africa, regional integration
and poverty relief.
Around 2,000 participants attended the opening ceremony, including the
presidents of Rwanda, Cape Verde and Madagascar.
"It is not fortuitous that we are meeting on this continent, in China, and at
this juncture," said Donald Kaberuka, President of AfDB.
"This annual meeting is an opportunity to exchange experiences and enhance
Zhou Xiaochuan, governor of the People's Bank of China, said he is confident
that the meeting will become a starting point for all parties to promote
development in both Asia and Africa.
The AfDB meeting is another significant Africa-related event in China,
following the Beijing Summit of the China-Africa Cooperation Forum held last
November and the recent appointment of a special envoy on African issues.
China, which joined the AfDB in 1985, is one of 24 non-African shareholders
in the organization
Two-way trade soared to $55.5 billion last year, four times the 2000 level,
according to the bank. Beijing says it wants that figure to rise to $100 billion
(China Daily 05/17/2007 page1)