Chinese vice president hails China-Africa Cooperation Forum

08:22, November 19, 2010      

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Visiting Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping hailed Pretoria on Thursday the achievements of the 10-year-old Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC), saying it has made "all-round and tangible contribution" to the development of the new type of China-Africa strategic partnership.

Addressing a seminar marking the 10th anniversary of the establishment of FOCAC, Xi noted that over the past 10 years mutual political trust had continued to deepened between China and Africa, practical cooperation had progressed on multiple fronts and exchanges and mutual learning had intensified.

In the past decade, China's grant assistance, zero-interest loans and preferential loans to Africa all increased by a wide margin, China-Africa trade rose from 10.6 billion U.S. dollars in 2000 to 106.8 billion U.S. dollars in 2008 at an annual growth rate of over 30 percent.

"The trade figure for the first three quarters of this year reached 93.7 billion U.S. dollars, up by 48 percent," he said.

In 2009, China's direct investment in Africa stood at 1.44 billion U.S. dollars, an increase of nearly six times over the year 2000. By the end of 2009, China had canceled more than 300 zero-interest loans owed by 35 heavily-indebted needy countries and least developed countries in Africa.

So far China is Africa's top trading partner while Africa is China's fourth biggest overseas investment destination, Xi said.

In addition, a total of nearly 30,000 African professionals in various sectors have received training by China, and in 2009 alone, over 12, 000 African students were studying in China. On Thursday, over 200 governmental officials, diplomats, scholars and business leaders attended the seminar.

Founded in 2000, FOCAC is an official forum between China and the states in Africa. There have been four summits held to date.



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