China to aid Africa in its fight against poverty

2014-05-06 00:01:22 GMT2014-05-06 08:01:22(Beijing Time)

CHINESE Premier Li Keqiang yesterday unveiled extra aid for Africa totalling at least US$12 billion, and offered to share advance technology to help with the development of high-speed rail on the continent.

Li pledged the additional funding in a speech at African Union headquarters in Ethiopia’s capital Addis Ababa.

China is to increase credit lines to Africa by US$10 billion to US$30 billion and will boost the China-Africa Development Fund by US$2 billion, taking it to a total of US$5 billion, Xinhua news agency reported.

Li depicted a dream of all African capitals connected by high-speed rail so as to boost pan-African communication and development.

As China has advanced technologies in this area, Li said it was ready to work with Africa “to make this dream come true.”

Li is paying his first visit to Africa since he became premier last year.

His four-nation tour follows a trip to the continent by President Xi Jinping in March 2013, when he renewed an offer of US$20 billion in loans to Africa between 2013 and 2015.

In his speech at the AU headquarters, the premier reaffirmed China’s commitment to further deepening the China-Africa comprehensive cooperative partnership.

China is ready to expand cooperation with Africa in building roads, railways, telecommunications, power grids and other infrastructure so as to help the continent realize regional interconnection, Li said, adding that the Chinese government also encourages Chinese enterprises to form joint ventures with African counterparts in a bid to improve Africa’s regional aviation industry.

In a bid to reduce poverty, China will train 2,000 agricultural technicians and management personnel for Africa in the coming five years, and tilt its assistance toward such welfare areas as drinking water and prevention and control of epidemics, Li said.

Stressing that ecological protection is a shared responsibility of all humanity, Li said the Chinese government will provide Africa with US$10 million of free aid for wildlife preservation and promote joint research in protecting biological diversity, preventing and controlling desertification and promoting modern agriculture.

In respect of people-to-people exchanges, Li said China will provide African countries with 18,000 government scholarships and help them train 30,000 various professionals.

On peace and security, Li said China stands ready to assist Africa in building capacity in such areas as peace-keeping, counter-terrorism and anti-piracy.

China, he said, will also offer South Sudan another 50 million yuan (about US$8 million) of aid to help deal with the humanitarian crisis there.

On Sunday, China signed a raft of agreements with Ethiopia after Li arrived for the first leg of his four-nation Africa tour aimed at shoring up burgeoning Sino-Africa ties that saw trade top US$200 billion last year.

Chinese ministers and company executives accompanying Li signed 16 deals with their Ethiopian counterparts, including loans and cooperation agreements for the construction of roads and industrial zones.

Huawei Technologies Co Ltd — the world’s second largest telecom equipment maker — and ZTE Corp are currently working to introduce a high-speed 4G broadband network in Addis Ababa and a 3G service throughout the country.

Officials said both firms have now signed an US$80 million deal to lay optical ground cables to form a nationwide network in Ethiopia.


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