FM: China to fulfill aid commitments to Africa

from Xinhua
Published on 06 Feb 2009 View Original
China will live up to its promise on providing assistance to African countries by the end of this year, a senior Foreign Ministry official said in Beijing on Friday.

Zhai Jun, assistant vice minister of foreign affairs, told reporters that China is fully confident to implement the eight-point policy package announced by Chinese President Hu Jintao to strengthen practical cooperation with and support the development of African countries at the China-Africa summit in Beijing in November, 2006.

Heads of state and government from more than 40 African countries attended the Beijing summit.

President Hu will pay state visit to Mali, Senegal, Tanzania and Mauritius next week. This will be his second Africa trip after the summit. The first was in early 2007, when he visited eight African countries.

Hu's promise at the summit include massive tariff cuts and debt exemptions for scores of African countries, and doubling aid to Africa in three years.

Zhai said the deadline to fulfill these commitments will fall this year, and that China is confident to deliver its promises.

The doubling of aid to Africa will be fulfilled this year, he said.

During his visit, President Hu will discuss trade and economic issues of common interest with African leaders and will provide new aid to Africa countries, Zhai said.

China has already implemented the promised tariff exemption for imported goods from the least development African countries which have diplomatic ties with China. It has also written off, as promised, debt of all the heavily indebted and least developed African countries that have official links with China. According to the Ministry of Commerce, the move has benefited 33 African countries, who have 168 items of debt due by 2005 waived.

Under the sponsorship of China, the China-Africa Development Fund has provided funding for 20 projects in Africa. According to sources from the Ministry of Commerce, the fund has an initial capital of one billion U.S. dollars and will be increased to five billion dollars in coming years.

The construction of the China-funded African Union conference center had started in last December. China has also built hospitals, malaria prevention centers and rural schools in a number of African countries.

By the end of 2008, China has trained 11,000 professional persons from various African countries. It has sent 125 youth volunteers and some 100 farming specialists to Africa.

Follow-up actions to implement President Hu's eight-point policy package have been progressing steadily and "very smoothly", Zhai said.

Editor: Fang Yang