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WB welcomes China's investment in Africa
Updated: 2009-04-25 16:57

WASHINGTON -- The World Bank said Friday it welcomes China's investment in Africa, where capital and liquidity are in great demand as a result of the global financial crisis.

With China's capital surplus, how China spends this money -- either to reinvest in the economy or invest for added value -- will be the subject of great interest in the international community, James Adams, the bank's vice president of the East Asia and Pacific region, told Xinhua in an interview on the eve of the bank's spring meeting.

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Although due to Africa's low savings rate both in governments and households, China will be a natural capital investor in Africa, Adams said there are "always special issues and sensitivities about resources."

He said some media reports on China's investment activities in Africa are misleading and inaccurate.

An article published by the Washington Post on Thursday, titled "China uses global crisis to assert its influence," tracked China's recent loans to and investments in foreign countries. The story was picked up by some websites such as that of the American Iron and Steel Institute, an advocate for US steel industry.

Adams said such an issue was not new. He noted that when the United States had large fiscal surpluses after the World War II and invested in Europe and subsequently in Asia, there were similar "sensitivities" about the US investments.

The best way to quiet down such concerns is that China strives to be a good corporate citizen, be considerate of the countries it invests in, and uphold high standards in development projects, he added.

"People would say there is almost the implication that China was going to take over all the industries in Africa. It wasn't true," Adams said.

"We felt the obligation to get some of the facts out. From the bank's perspective, Chinese investment in Africa is very welcome," he added.

China's experience in fiscal discipline, a balance in integration into the international economy and strong oversight in the country's financial sector are "important lessons to other countries," Adams said.

He said he believes African officials can draw much from China's growth experience and apply it to their own countries.