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Tuesday, October 10, 2000, updated at 18:20(GMT+8)

Uganda Welcomes Initiatives to Strengthen Sino-African Ties

Uganda Tuesday expressed its appreciation of the new initiatives the China has taken to cement Sino-African economic ties.

Speaking at the China-Africa Cooperation Forum which opened in Beijing this morning, First Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of Uganda, Eriya Kategaya, said his delegation welcomes the pledge made by the Chinese Government to continue to provide economic and technical assistance to African countries.

China's support is of vital significance to infrastructure construction in African countries, he said.

He is also highly appreciative of China's to set up an African Human Resources Development Fund as well as a Special Fund to support Chinese investments in Africa.

"These two facilities will help address two of Africa's most dire needs: human resource development and business development," he said.

"The proposed Special Fund to support Chinese enterprises to invest in Africa will assist in bringing Chinese and African entrepreneurs closer to each other and ... will hopefully, facilitate Chinese investors to set up production units in Africa geared towards exporting to the Chinese market," Kategaya said.

On China's decision to cut or exempt debts owed by heavily indebted poor countries and those least developed ones in Africa, he said the offer will significantly contribute to efforts to alleviate the enormous debt burden on poor African countries.

The new proposals to enhance Sino-African ties are expected to be drafted into the Program for China-Africa Cooperation in Economic and Social Development, which will be issued at the end of the three-day forum.

Kategaya hailed the long-standing friendship between China and Africa, which he said epitomizes close cooperation and warmth towards each other.

The African people will always remember with gratitude the moral, material and political support that has been readily and selflessly provided by China in African nations' struggles to shake themselves away from the yokes of colonialism and racism, he stressed.

The Ugandan First Deputy Prime Minister hopes that China would enter the World Trade Organization soon, and said that "China's powerful voice will add to the efficacy and globality of this organization".

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Uganda Tuesday expressed its appreciation of the new initiatives the China has taken to cement Sino-African economic ties.

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