There is much to talk about on the relations between China and African countries in 2006.
On January 12, 2006, the Chinese Government released China's African Policy paper. The document reviews the history of ties between China and African countries for over a half century, expounds on Africa's position and role in the new era, and spells out the direction and goals of China's African policy in a comprehensive and systematic manner.
Chinese President Hu Jintao poses with leaders of member economies of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation for a group photo. China adheres to the principle of treating neighboring countries as friends and partners.
President Hu visited three African countries--Morocco, Nigeria and Kenya--on April 18-29, 2006. On June 17-24, Premier Wen visited seven African countries--Egypt, Ghana, Congo (Brazzaville), Angola, South Africa, Tanzania and Uganda. The fact that both the president and premier of China visited Africa in a three-month period speaks of how much China values African countries.
On November 1-6, 2006, Beijing welcomed participants to the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation Beijing Summit, including heads of state and government or their representatives from 48 African countries and Alpha Oumar Konare, Chairman of the African Union Commission, as well as representatives of international and African regional organizations. Based on the theme of the summit—“friendship, peace, cooperation and development,” participants reviewed friendly cooperation between China and Africa in the past five decades, the progress of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation over the past six years and mapped out the road for pragmatic cooperation in the future. The summit released a few important documents, including the Beijing Declaration of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation and Forum on China-Africa Cooperation--Beijing Action Plan (2007-09). Participants to the summit also reached consensus on developing a new type of Sino-African strategic partnership. At the summit, President Hu proposed eight measures to strengthen China's cooperation with African countries in five areas. These measures include exempting African countries of debt worth tens of billions of U.S. dollars; training 15,000 Africans within three years; doubling the aid to Africa by the end of year 2009; delivering credit loans of $5 billion to Africa; setting up a China-African fund of $5 billion; and further opening Chinese markets to Africa. The Beijing Summit codified the new type of strategic partnership between China and Africa in political documents, which is a milestone in the history of China-Africa relations and South-South cooperation.
China is the largest developing country in the world, whereas Africa is home to the largest number of developing countries. With their economies complementing each other, China and Africa enjoy a bright future for further development. Trade between the two sides has expanded rapidly, with the total volume growing from $12.11 million in the 1950s to $50 billion in 2006. Now, China is the third largest trading partner of Africa, trailing behind the United States and France, but leading Britain.
On January 30-February 10, 2007, President Hu visited eight African countries. This was Hu's first overseas trip in 2007. His visit represented an effort to implement the eight measures to strengthen friendly cooperation between China and Africa proposed at the Beijing Summit.