China doubles loans to Africa to $20 billion

China said Thursday it would offer $20 billion in new loans to Africa, underscoring the relationship's growing importance, as Chinese companies agreed to operate more responsibly on the resource-rich continent.

Beijing has poured money into Africa over the last 15 years, seeking to tap into its vast natural resources, and China became the continent's largest trading partner in 2009.

But its aggressive move into the continent has at times caused friction with local people, with some complaining Chinese companies import their own workers, flout labour laws and mistreat local employees.

The loan pledge, made by President Hu Jintao as he opened a Beijing forum on China-Africa cooperation, is double the amount China agreed to lend to Africa at the last such event in 2009 and will cover the next three years.

Addressing African leaders including South African President Jacob Zuma and Kenya Premier Raila Odinga, Hu said the loans would focus on supporting infrastructure, manufacturing and the development of small businesses.

"China and Africa's destinies are closely linked, Chinese and African friendship is deeply rooted in the hearts of the people on both sides," he said.

"China sincerely supports African countries as they pursue their own development paths, and will sincerely assist African countries in strengthening their ability to develop independently."

Hu also promised training and scholarships for African professionals and students, assistance with healthcare, customs and excise and financial support for the African Union.

South Africa's Zuma thanked China for treating African countries as "equals", but he cautioned against allowing an unequal trade relationship to persist in which Africa mainly supplied raw materials.

"This trade pattern is unsustainable in the long term," he told the China-Africa Cooperation Forum.

"Africa's past economic experience with Europe dictates a need to be cautious when entering into partnerships with other economies.

"We are particularly pleased that, in our relationship with China, we are equals and that agreements entered into are for mutual gain."

Africa's rich natural resources are its main export to China, which needs minerals to fuel its massive economic growth, while the continent's major imports are mechanical or electrical products.

Trade between the Asian powerhouse and the continent hit a record $166.3 billion last year, from less than $20 billion a decade earlier and up 83 percent on 2009, according to government data.

Once seen as strictly interested in extracting raw resources and investing in infrastructure, China has interests on the continent that are increasingly shifting to investing in institutions and governments, experts say.

UN chief Ban Ki-moon, speaking at Thursday's forum, said cooperation with China was "creating opportunities for African countries to diversify their economies, create jobs and improve healthcare and education".

But anti-Chinese sentiment has grown in recent years and Zambia's current president tapped into this to win office in 2011, one year after two Chinese managers shot at 11 local workers protesting over poor pay and work conditions.

On Thursday, Chinese state-run bodies operating in Africa signed a declaration of social responsibility in which they pledged to respect local customs, pay more tax and protect the environment, among other measures.

Sponsors of the declaration included the State Development Bank, the China-Africa Development Fund, and China Non-Ferrous Metals Group.

"Chinese companies operating in African countries are paying increasing attention to the fulfilling of their social responsibilities as well as making profits and getting economic returns," said Yu Ping, vice chairman of the China Council for the Promotion of International Trade.

Loading...

Editor’s note:Yahoo Philippines encourages responsible comments that add dimension to the discussion. No bashing or hate speech, please. You can express your opinion without slamming others or making derogatory remarks.

  • ‘Taklub’ wins jury prize in Cannes
    ‘Taklub’ wins jury prize in Cannes

    The Yolanda-inspired film “Taklub” has won a special award at the Cannes Film Festival in France. The advocacy film, which had a successful premiere last Tuesday under the festival’s Un Certain Regard section, is directed by 2009 Cannes best director Brillante Mendoza and top-billed by Nora Aunor. The award cited the film’s sensitive portrayal of individuals and communities in the Philippines fighting to continue living despite natural disasters exposing them to suffering and death. …

  • Orphan tops chemical engineering board exam
    Orphan tops chemical engineering board exam

    A 21-year-old orphan from Capiz topped the chemical engineering board examinations held this month. Remington Salaya, a cum laude graduate of the Central Philippine University in Iloilo, ranked first in the board examinations with a score of 83.30 percent. Out of 405 chemical engineering graduates who took the exam in mid-May, 239 passed. …

  • A sunset party for APEC delegates
    A sunset party for APEC delegates

    Greeted by the beat of Ati-atihan drummers, delegates of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation trade ministers meeting enjoyed a welcome dinner and cultural presentation at sunset yesterday. Dubbed FuntaSea, Shangri-La Boracay Resort and Spa’s Banyugan Beach was transformed into a fantasy island, complete with mermaids, fire dancers, and choreographed paraws (sailboat) representing the best of Boracay. With APEC meetings being held all over the Philippines, each presentation is conceptualized …

  • UN chief urges peaceful solution of sea dispute
    UN chief urges peaceful solution of sea dispute

    United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called Friday for a peaceful solution to territorial disputes in the South China Sea, where China’s increased assertiveness has alarmed its smaller neighbors. In Manila, Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. appealed to China to respect various international agreements on freedom of navigation and aviation. Coloma’s call came in the wake of an incident Wednesday where Chinese naval forces warned a US …

  • Phl seeks transparency, inclusivity in Asean-China Center
    Phl seeks transparency, inclusivity in Asean-China Center

    Philippine Ambassador to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations Elizabeth Buensuceso has called on participants of the ASEAN-China Center (ACC) brainstorming session to vigorously work on promoting ASEAN-China relations under the principles of inclusivity, transparency and centrality. The brainstorming session, attended by the ACC’s joint council and joint executive board members, also involved a midterm review of ACC’s work since its establishment in 2011. The ACC aims to promote …

  • Lebanon tightens rules on HSW repatriation
    Lebanon tightens rules on HSW repatriation

    Distressed Filipino domestic helpers in Lebanon may find it more difficult to return home. The government of Lebanon has tightened the rules on repatriation of distressed household service workers (HSWs), Labor Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz reported yesterday. Citing a report from the Philippine Overseas Labor Office (POLO), Baldoz said the Lebanese government opted to re-impose a previous policy requiring investigation into every case of HSWs who ran away from their employers and sought …

  • Army execs face attrition over promotion quota
    Army execs face attrition over promotion quota

    Dozens of Philippine Army officials may be removed from the service due to a promotion quota system in the Armed Forces of the Philippines, according to AFP chief Gen. Gregorio Pio Catapang. In a letter to Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin, he requested that the 30 percent promotion quota – which means that only 30 percent of those eligible for promotion in a given year will actually be promoted – in the Army be raised to 50 percent. Under the military’s attrition law, middle-grade officers …

  • Philippines backs support for small enterprises at APEC meet

    MANILA, Philippines (AP) — The Philippines' top trade official on Saturday called for support for the integration of micro, small and medium enterprises in global trade, which he said would help reduce poverty and inequality in the Asia-Pacific region. …

POLL

Should Aquino be held accountable over the Mamasapano operations?

Loading...
Poll Choice Options