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Africa hopes to strengthen ties with China amid challenges: Benin president

(Xinhua)

08:25, July 20, 2012

Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao (R) shakes hands with South African President Jacob Zuma in Beijing, capital of China, July 19, 2012. Zuma is in Beijing to attend the opening ceremony of the Fifth Ministerial Conference of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC). (Xinhua/Ma Zhancheng)

BEIJING, July 19 (Xinhua) -- President of Benin Boni Yayi said Thursday that Africa hopes to strengthen its win-win partnership with China, as its fast-growing population is expected to bring great challenges to the continent.

Yayi made the remarks at the opening ceremony of the Fifth Ministerial Meeting of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC), which runs from Thursday to Friday.

Africa needs China to realize its integration, while China will need the help of Africa to become a global power, said Yayi, who is also rotating chairperson of the African Union Commission.

Yayi said Africa's population will likely hit 2 billion by 2050, which will pose severe challenges in terms of securing education, hygiene, energy and food.

With great potential in untapped resources, Africa hopes to strengthen its win-win partnership with China to develop the resources, Yayi said.

Yayi said Africa wishes to become a wealth-generating continent, rather than merely an energy supplier and consumer market, and welcomes more Chinese investors to come to Africa.

Yayi said he hopes China will assist in Africa's infrastructure construction, as African countries are directing more efforts to boost construction of trans-regional ports, highways, railways and telecommunications facilities.

The FOCAC is a collective consultation and dialogue mechanism between China and African countries launched in 2000. This year's conference will define new China-Africa cooperative programs over the next three years.

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