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President says China to increase aid, cancel debts for Africa
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07:55, February 13, 2009

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Chinese President Hu Jintao on Thursday pledged to increase aid to African countries, cancel part of their debts, and expand trade with and investment in these countries.

The Chinese president, who is on his first visit to this western African nation, made the pledge while meeting with his Malian counterpart Amadou Toumany Toure.

Hu was accorded a 21-gun salute in a welcome ceremony before the two presidents started their talks.

At the landmark China-Africa summit in 2006, China announced eight measures to promote ties with Africa, including massive tariff cuts and debt exemptions and doubling aid to Africa over a three-year period.

In the past two years, China has increased aid to African countries, eliminated tariff for goods from some least developed African nations, and cancelled part of the debts owed by African countries, Chinese Assistant Foreign Minister Zhai Jun said days ahead of Hu's visit.

Trade between China and African countries increased to 106.8 billion U.S. dollars last year from just under 40 billion dollars in 2005, according to the Chinese Commerce Ministry.

Source: Xinhua

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