China makes single largest grain donation to Africa: official
China has delivered food donations worth 443.2 million yuan (69.58 million U.S. dollars) to the Horn of Africa which is suffering from severe drought and famine, a Chinese official said Sunday.
"This is the single largest grain donation to foreign countries ever delivered by Chinese government since the founding of the People's Republic of China (in 1949)," said Lu Shaye, head of the Department of African Affairs of the Chinese Foreign Ministry.
"When faced with natural disasters and special difficulties, China and Africa always lend each other a helping hand in the most prompt manner," said Lu, also the secretary-general of the Chinese Follow-up Committee of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC).
According to Lu, after China's Yushu and Zhouqu were hit by natural disasters, many African countries immediately expressed their deep sympathy and compassion, and supported China's relief efforts in various ways.
Meanwhile, China-Africa trade volume surpassed 100 billion U.S. dollars in 2010, and reached 79 billion dollars in the first half of this year, growing by 29.1 percent year on year, Lu said in an interview with Xinhua.
With rapid growth of Chinese investment, Africa has become the fourth largest investment destination for China, Lu said.
The official said China has continued its assistance to Africa after Premier Wen Jiabao announced new measures to strengthen China-Africa pragmatic cooperation at the 4th Ministerial Conference of FOCAC in 2009 in Egypt.
The FOCAC will hold a Senior Officials Meeting from Oct. 26 to 27 in Hangzhou, capital of east China's Zhejiang Province, to make a mid-term review on implementing the consensus of the 4th Ministerial Conference, and make preparations for the 5th Ministerial Conference to be held next year.
In addition to more frequent visits and exchanges on various levels, China and Africa have achieved progress in many fields, including debt cancellations, tariff exemptions, preferential loans, agriculture, education and clean energy, Lu said.
"China is actively pushing forward on 100 clean-energy projects for Africa," Lu said.
From the end of 2009 to Aug. 2011, China delivered 113 end-to-end projects, 137 batches of supplies and 13 cash donations to African countries, and launched 66 technical cooperation projects, according to Lu.
Senior officials from China and 50 African FOCAC member countries, representatives from African Union Commission and some African regional organizations, as well as African diplomatic envoys to China will attend the meeting in Hangzhou.
The FOCAC was jointly proposed and established by China and more than 40 African countries in 2000. It consists of meetings at three levels: the ministerial conference, senior officials meeting, and negotiations between the Chinese Follow-up Committee of the Forum and the African Diplomatic Mission in Beijing.
Editor: Mu Xuequan