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China's bond of commitment

By He Wenping (China Daily)

14:08, July 25, 2012

New round of assistance to Africa will benefit its development and help promote peace and stability across the world

China's latest measures to boost ties with African countries, as outlined by President Hu Jintao at a forum in Beijing on Thursday, are expected to enrich Sino-African cooperation and open up new avenues for further development of the decades-long partnership.

The fifth Ministerial Meeting of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation that concluded on Friday appraised the implementation of the plans and measures adopted by the forum's fourth ministerial meeting two years ago, and passed a declaration and an action plan aimed at mapping out Sino-African development over the next three years.

Addressing the opening ceremony of the two-day meeting, President Hu put forward five priority areas to expand interaction with African countries and announced that China will provide $20 billion credit loans to help them develop infrastructure, agriculture, manufacturing, and small and medium-sized enterprises.

China will also help African countries enhance their capacity for overall development, and work to promote peace and stability in Africa to create a secure environment for the continent's development. China's assistance measures for Africa also include a program to train 30,000 personnel in various sectors, offering 18,000 government scholarships, sending more Chinese medics and health workers to the continent and taking up projects to provide safe drinking water to the African people.

Compared with previous measures, the latest ones involve broader areas and will be a strong driving force for the development of Sino-African ties, just as Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi said at the closing ceremony of the meeting. Held against the backdrop of African countries' having endured the repercussions of the global financial crisis and the social disturbances in some North African nations, the meeting has drawn special attention of the international community.

The African economy as a whole has maintained a comparatively rapid development momentum for more than a decade after the mid-1990s, with a per capita annual growth rate of nearly 6 percent. Under the impact of the global financial crisis, African economic growth, however, fell below 2 percent in 2009. But thanks to cooperation with China and other emerging economies the African economy's growth rose to 4.6 percent in 2010.

Unfortunately, the continuous social and political turbulences that swept across North Africa have pushed the continent's economic development toward the bottom again. At a time when European countries are bogged down in a debt crisis and thus cannot offer any help to Africa and when the tendency for a neo-interventionism into African affairs keeps increasing, African countries have higher expectations from expanded cooperation with China in the fields of economics and trade as well as security.

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