China pledges $20bn in credit for Africa at summit

China's President Hu Jintao (R) shakes hands with South Africa's President Jacob Zuma during the opening ceremony of the Fifth Ministerial Conference of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, 19 July, 2012 Mr Hu called for better co-operation with African countries

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China has pledged $20bn (£12.8bn) in credit for Africa over the next three years, in a push for closer ties and increased trade.

President Hu Jintao made the announcement at a summit in Beijing with leaders from 50 African nations.

He said the loans would support infrastructure, agriculture and the development of small businesses.

The Chinese leader also called for better co-operation with African countries on international affairs.

As developing nations, China and countries in Africa should work better together in response to "the big bullying the small, the strong domineering over the weak and the rich oppressing the poor" in international affairs, said Mr Hu.

The loan is double the amount China pledged in a previous three-year period in 2009, since which time China has been Africa's largest trading partner.

Trade between the two hit a record high of $166bn (£106bn) in 2011, Chinese Commerce Minister Chen Deming wrote in the China Daily newspaper, ahead of the two-day forum.

"We want to continue to enhance our traditional friendship... rule out external interference and enhance mutual understanding and trust," said Mr Hu.

United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon is also attending the fifth ministerial meeting of the Forum on China-Africa Co-operation.

'Balanced development'

On Wednesday, Mr Hu and Premier Wen Jiabao held bilateral talks with key African leaders, including South African President Jacob Zuma.

China's top five trading partners in Africa (US$, 2010)

Country Trade value

Source: China Customs data; Frontier Advisory analysis

1. Angola


2. South Africa


3. Sudan


4. Nigeria


5. Egypt


Africa is an important source of raw materials to feed China's economic boom and a market for cheap Chinese products, and has benefited from huge infrastructure projects in return, says the BBC's Damian Grammaticas.

But there are concerns Beijing turns a blind eye to corruption and claims its firms have committed labour abuses in Zimbabwe, Zambia and elsewhere, our correspondent adds.

Moves by some Chinese enterprises to hire mostly Chinese nationals have also drawn attention.

Mr Wen said that China would now focus on creating jobs for local residents and working with African countries for sustainable growth.

At an economic conference held in conjunction with the summit on Wednesday, he said China would ''expand imports'' of African products and ''further open'' its domestic market to African countries.

''We need to promote balanced development of trade between China and Africa,'' he said.

He also pledged that China would pay more attention to environmental protection and cultural issues in its dealings with the continent.

''As for some existing problems and new situations in China-Africa co-operation, the Chinese government is actively working with African countries to seek effective solutions and measures,'' Mr Wen said.

China and Africa's growing trade relationship in figures

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  • rate this

    Comment number 161.

    160. rjbcoach
    I can only speak for my own country, the Bahamas, where for the last few years, Chinese investment has replaced and surpassed traditional markets for FDI (the USA).

    We have seen none of the doom of the naysayers materialize. Even where they have imported their own labour, the net effect of Chinese investment has been overwhelmingly positive.

    Africans should welcome it.

  • rate this

    Comment number 159.

    158. Philip Iszatt

    Fair enough. But in all my readings about the Chinese in Africa, never have i heard any plans to import to Africa the Chinese political or social model. Just how trade and investment leads to the adoption of such a model you never explain.

    It seems to me that by investing in infrastructure and opening new markets, China may be part of the cure for the fatalism you cite.

  • rate this

    Comment number 154.

    Another future "Made in China" industry about to be created; but Africa will not gain anything from it, except disillusionment & regret!

  • rate this

    Comment number 120.

    When China first opened up and invited foreign companies, the local chinese were also doing the basic jobs and got low wages. It takes time for the locals to learn business. Furthermore, a local wage is better than being unemployed.

    Letting the market to decide wage and whom to hire, that is the spirit of capitalism. If there is really golden opportunities, the western companies will be there.

  • rate this

    Comment number 116.

    This is a bad day for Africa. With economic turmoil Africa doesnt seem to understand that China will strip the country of its resources at a far lower price than normal times. This will enevitably lead to future problems with a large chunk of other countries not being able to have any stake in Africa. In the long term I see China taking advantage on a bigger scale, then there will be trouble.


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