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China-Africa ties set to move into higher gear


18:54, March 27, 2013

BEIJING, March 27 (Xinhua) -- China, as a long-time friend and supporter of Africa's development, has been making substantial efforts to bring China-Africa relations to higher levels.

The commitment has been on full display during Chinese President Xi Jinping's ongoing maiden overseas trip, which includes visits to Tanzania, South Africa and the Republic of the Congo.

China-Africa ties, deeply rooted in more than 50 years of mutual support and genuine friendship, have witnessed fast growth in the past decade, highlighted by frequent high-level visits, robust two-way trade and increasing people-to-people interaction.

In October 2000, the two sides established the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation. In 2006, they agreed to upgrade their relationship into a new type of strategic partnership featuring political equality and mutual trust, economic win-win cooperation and cultural exchanges.

While in Tanzania, Xi said China-Africa relations had reached a new historic starting point as the two sides now shared increasing common interests and a stronger desire to cooperate.

Aside from boosting cooperation in trade and investment, China would also promote cooperation with African nations in infrastructure, agriculture and manufacturing, Xi said.

As part of its efforts to enhance Africa's capacity to develop itself, Xi said, China would help the continent train 30,000 professionals and provide 18,000 government scholarships for African students from 2013 to 2015.

After Tanzania, Xi headed to South Africa for a state visit and the fifth summit of BRICS, which consists of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.

During a meeting with South African President Jacob Zuma on Tuesday, Xi said China was ready to work with South Africa to build their ties into a role model both for the development of the new type of China-Africa strategic partnership and for solidarity and cooperation between large developing countries.

The two leaders agreed to make bilateral ties a strategic focus in their respective foreign policies and push the bilateral comprehensive strategic partnership to a higher level through broader and deeper cooperation.

Xi later traveled to the port city of Durban, where BRICS leaders met for the first time in Africa.

Under the theme of "BRICS and Africa: Partnership for Development, Integration and Industrialization," the summit was also attended by African leaders for the promotion of regional development and integration.

During the summit, the emerging-economy group is poised to establish a development bank and a business council, which observers say have potential influence beyond the five BRICS members.

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