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China Unveils New 'Win-Win' Partnership With Africa

Chinese Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing (R) confers with his Senegalese counterpart Cheikh Tidiane Gadio 12 January 2006 in Dakar. Li is the first high-level Chinese government official to visit Senegal, which switched ties to China on October 25. Li gave four million US dollars to Dakar within hours of his arrival in Senegal, the latest west African country to have recently ditched Taiwan in favour of Beijing.

Bamako, Mali (AFP) Jan 15, 2006
China on Sunday unveiled plans to boost its ties with Africa, outlining a new relationship with the continent based on a "win-win" concept of economic and military cooperation.

"China plans to establish and develop a 'new type of strategic partnership with Africa' characterised by equality and mutual trust on the political front, cooperation conducted on the basis of "win-win" economics with reinforced cultural exchanges," according to a document released in the Malian capital, Bamako, at the end of a visit by Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing.

China already has a strong presence in Africa and its investments there are being boosted by a recognition of the continent as a source of raw materials such as oil, as well as an important market for Chinese goods.

China's intention, the document said, is to "ensure reciprocal advantages with a view to shared development" through economic, commercial, military and social cooperation.

Beijing plans to open up the Chinese market to African merchandise, reducing tariffs on some goods from Africa's least developed countries to zero and says it will work to boost bilateral trade on an equal basis.

Sino-African cooperation will also focus on "developing land, agricultural output, animal husbandry, and food security."

Health and tourism are covered in the plan, while Beijing also intends to boost its cooperation with regard to military technology and "will continue to help African countries train their military personnel".

The Chinese government is also encouraging "Chinese businesses to invest and set up in Africa and will continue to give them loans at preferential rates," the document added.

It explained that China regards Africa as "a powerful force for bringing peace and developent across the world" and that China plans to work with bodies such as the African Union and the United Nations so as to promote "a new international political and social order" for the sake of security.

In this regard, Beijing wants to help Africa contribute to international efforts to fight terrorism, reduce the smuggling of light arms and to "strengthen international judicial cooperation."

The document stressed that all this was contingent on African countries' refraining from developing official relations with Taiwan.

Before leaving Mali for Liberia and the presidential inauguration of Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Li Zhaoxing spoke about the new partnership.

"China and Mali, both developing countries, are urged to support each other, step up their exchanges and broaden their cooperation."

In a statement, the Malian foreign ministry reaffirmed "the commitment of the two sides to step up their cooperation."

Malian Foreign Minister Moctar Ouane told AFP: "This visit marks a surge in cooperation between our two countries in a number of areas. It's a good example of South-South cooperation."

During his visit, Li announced a grant-in-aid of about two billion CFA francs (three million euros, 3.6 million dollars) to Mali.

The Chinese minister's west African tour has so far taken him to Cape Verde and Senegal. After Monrovia, he is to travel to Nigeria and Libya.

Source: Agence France-Presse

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