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Chinese president pledges solidarity with Africa amid financial crisis
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18:55, February 16, 2009

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Chinese President Hu Jintao on Monday called on China and Africa to strengthen solidarity and mutual assistance to jointly tide over the ongoing global financial storm.

"We know fully well the difficulties we face at home; we are also keenly aware of the difficulties faced by our African friends," Hu said in a key-note speech at a welcoming rally attended by people from various sectors in the Tanzanian capital.

The president pledged to "earnestly follow through" on the eight measures announced at the Beijing Summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation in 2006, which include massive tariff cuts, debt exemptions, and doubling aid to Africa over a three-year period, among others.

"It is heartening to see that the implementation of these measures is well under way," he said.

China will continue to increase assistance to Africa and cut debts owed by African countries as its ability permits, he said.

China will expand trade and investment and strengthen practical cooperation with Africa, he said, noting that the two-way trade exceeded 100 billion U.S. dollars last year for the very first time.

The Chinese government encourages and supports the efforts of more established Chinese companies to invest in Africa, create more jobs for the local people and transfer more technologies to their African partners, Hu said.

The president also encouraged Chinese companies in Africa to shoulder more social responsibilities and forge amicable relations with the local communities.

During times of adversity, it is all the more important for China and Africa to support each other, work in concert and tide over the difficulties together, he said.

Meanwhile, Hu urged the international community to pay greater attention to the impact of the financial crisis on developing countries, especially the least developed ones.

The international community, developed countries in particular, should assume due responsibilities and obligations, continue to deliver on aid and debt relief commitments, maintain and increase assistance to developing countries and effectively help them maintain financial stability and economic growth, he said.

They should take concrete steps to help developing countries, especially those in Africa, overcome difficulties and improve the external environment necessary for the development of these countries, he said.

Tanzania is the fourth leg of Hu's week-long tour, which has taken him to Saudi Arabia, Mali and Senegal. He will later visit Mauritius before flying home on Tuesday.

This is Hu's sixth visit to Africa and his second since the Beijing Summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation in 2006, where he announced eight measures designed to forge a new type of strategic partnership with Africa.

Source: Xinhua

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