China defends its African investments

Pretoria - Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping on Thursday called on the international community to recognise the benefits of continued Chinese investment in Africa.

"I noticed that some scholars from developed countries, who have long studied China-Africa relations, have recognised... that China-Africa relations are win-win in nature," he said in a speech in Pretoria.

"They have called on the international community to perceive China's role in Africa as it truly is."

Xi was in Pretoria to celebrate the 10-year anniversary of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC), which China organised in 2000 to expand its economic presence in Africa.

It takes place every three years.

At last year's gathering in Egypt, the Chinese government pledged $10bn in loans to Africa, and cancelled or reduced the debts of more than 30 African countries.

Xi, who is expected to be China's next president, is on a three-day tour of South Africa. The two countries signed a series of trade agreements on Wednesday as the Asian economic power sought to secure mineral rights needed to fuel its booming economy.

Beijing claims its bilateral trade with Africa will top $100bn in 2010 as Chinese firms continue pouring investment into the continent's oil, mining, agriculture and manufacturing sectors.

China has been criticised by Western countries over its involvement with regimes in countries like Sudan and Zimbabwe that have been accused of human rights abuses.

But Chinese officials say they follow a policy of non-interference in African countries' domestic affairs, and deny that Chinese loans come with strings attached.

Xi is scheduled to travel to oil-rich Angola as well as to Botswana to shore up Chinese resource deals in those countries.

 

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