Trade and economic cooperation between China and African countries is likely to continue expediential growth with Chinese President Hu Jintao's proposed new type of China-Africa strategic partnership.
"We hope there will be more tourists and business people from China. This will help us create more jobs for local people who are in great need after four years of conflict," Ambassador Alain Nicaise Papatchi Coffie from the Republic of Cote d'Ivoire to China told Xinhua on Saturday.
China is adding to its planned trade and economic cooperation with Africa by moving from mainly being an aid giver to an opportunity provider.
Boosting tourism and investment are two ways China hopes to help local social and economic development.
Chinese tourists visiting Africa 2005 doubled to more than 110,000, according to statistics from the Chinese Ministry of Public Security. There are now 16 African countries on China's list of tourist destinations for Chinese citizens.
Chinese trade and investment has helped African countries develop local industry, increase employment and improve living standards with cheap but quality Chinese television sets, medicine, motorcycles and clothes.
Trade between China and African countries increased from US$10 million in the 1950s' to nearly US$39.7 billion in 2005. African exports to China soared 10 times to US$21 billion.
Meanwhile, rich resources and market potential in Africa coupled with Chinese practical know-how have helped the modernization of both China and Africa.
Chinese direct investment to Africa has reached US$1.25 billion and more than 800 Chinese-funded companies have been established in Africa.
China's soaring economy fueled the country's aid program to African countries, which involves more than 800 projects ranging from schools, hospitals, gyms and even parliament buildings.
China has reduced 10.5 billion yuan (about US$1.3 billion) worth of debt of 31 African countries so far. It also granted zero-tariff treatment on 190 categories of African export goods.
Reiterating China's commitment to providing assistance to African countries, Hu said while addressing Nigerian parliament earlier this week that China will pay greater attention to knowledge-based cooperation with Africa.
"China will make continued efforts to extend our cooperation in trade to investment, technology and project contracting, and to encourage companies and other economic entities to join our governments in conducting economic cooperation," he said.
At a China-Africa summit meeting scheduled in Beijing this autumn, China will announce new measures on expanding cooperation with African countries.
"China will continue to work with Africa and make innovative efforts in keeping with the trend of the times to widen China-Africa cooperation, enrich and inject new vitality into it," the Chinese president said.
(Xinhua News Agency April 30, 2006)