Govt backs energy, mining investment in Africa


In Sudan, contractors must start energy prospecting within three months of contracts becoming effective, and any investment in the first two years cannot be less than $4 million.

"Energy cooperation between China and Africa is based on equality and mutual benefit, to realize win-win results, which is different from many energy resources exploration agreements made with developed countries," said Wang.

In the past year, China imported 64.7 million metric tons of crude oil from Africa, accounting for 24 percent of the country's total crude imports, according to official figures.

China's direct investment in Africa reached $2.9 billion in 2012, up 70 percent year-on-year, a strong indication of how Africa has become the priority investment target for many Chinese companies, said Zhong.

"They will face more challenges in energy investment in Africa, as countries there raise their requirements for deep-processing projects besides upstream resources exploration," she added.

Some African host countries require investing oil producers to build refineries in an effort to boost local economies.

Zhong explained that China entered the African energy market later than developed countries, which means many of the sites now being developed by Chinese companies are more remote, adding to transportation costs.

"It is a challenge for Chinese companies to invest in African energy projects because of the high investment costs involved," she said.

Yu Yingfu, deputy director-general of the ministry's Department of Aid to Foreign Countries, said that Chinese aid had been used in the past to develop African resource exploration, which was beneficial to local energy industry development.

He said that China's foreign aid amounts to about 40 billion yuan ($6.3 billion) going to more than 100 countries, including Africa.

"Our aid policy is to help solve the problems of these countries, rather than help in exchange for resources."

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