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African Union welcomes China infra investment
May 26, 2013, 5:51 am

China will be an all-weather friend of Africa said Chinese president Xi Jinping recently.(Xinhua Images)

China will be an all-weather friend of Africa said Chinese president Xi Jinping recently [Xinhua Images]

The African Union on Saturday expressed appreciation to China for investing billions in infrastructure in the African continent.

Hailemariam Desalegn, Ethiopian Prime Minister and the chairman of the African Union (AU), was speaking at special AU summit in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

Hailemariam noted that infrastructure is a sector neglected over the past decades, which arrests the growth and transformation of Africa’s economies.

“It is encouraging to note that some of our friends and partners have given priority to infrastructural development in Africa in terms of their strategic partnership with our continent. In this regard, I wish to take this opportunity to express my deepest appreciation to China for investing billions in this sector to assist us in our development endeavors,” he noted.

During his recent trip to Africa, Chinese President Xi Jinping reconfirmed China’s commitment to provide another $20 billion in financing to Africa.

New research by the Washington-based Center for Global Development and AidData includes 1,673 Chinese development finance projects worth $75 billion in 50 African countries from the years 2000-2011.

The African Union is going to celebrate its 50 years anniversary this month

“We have an Africa that is growing, more self-confident and playing a greater role on the global scene. In other words, we are on the cusp of an African renaissance,” said Carlos Lopes, head of the UN Economic Commission for Africa (ECA).

In an interview to the Financial Times earlier in March, South African President Jacob Zuma has warned western companies of changing their attitude to Africa or lose out on opportunities to China.

“I’ve said it to the private sector from the western countries: ‘Look. You have got to change the way you do business with Africa if you want to regain Africa. If you want to treat Africa as a former colony …then people will go to new partners who are going to treat them differently’,” said Zuma.

Hilary Clinton, US secretary of state, in 2011 had warned about China’s “neo-colonialism” in places like Africa.

Zuma said western financial institutions had “squeezed Africa”. “Instead of saying: ‘Let us help you’, they come and they say: ‘Change your economic structure. Don’t do this. Do that.’

“Now we are dealing with a new partner who is not putting all these strings attached.”

The African Union was invited to participate in the BRICS Summit this year as an observer.

The BRICS Post with inputs from Agencies

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