Visiting Vice Premier Huang Ju announced an ambitious plan Wednesday in Madagascar to triple China's trade volume with Africa to US$100 billion in five years by encouraging imports, and at the same time double its direct investment in the continent.
These efforts are intended to "beef up economic cooperation and promote common development" with Africa, Huang told an economic forum attended by Madagascan Prime Minister Jacques Sylla and more than 300 business people from the two countries.
With solid foundations of traditional friendship and smooth development of bilateral ties, especially the rapid increase of trade in recent years, China is eyeing a new era of cooperative relations with Africa, Huang said.
He put forward a package of proposals on Sino-African economic cooperation at the meeting sponsored by commerce and trade ministries of the two countries.
He said China will continue to work with African countries to optimize trade structure and encourage its companies to increase import from the continent, striving to lift its current annual trade volume with Africa from more than US$30 billion to US$100 billion in five years.
He also said China will encourage more Chinese companies to invest in Africa, and double its total amount of direct investment in the next five years. China will also work for more cooperation in financial services with African nations to better facilitate investment and trade.
In addition to the existing fields of agriculture, infrastructure, medical services and education, he said both sides should also reach out to tourism, banking services, science and technology, and other cooperation channels. Scale of cooperation should be enlarged by means of trade, construction contracts and investment.
He said China will on the request and needs of African countries provide training for their personnel in economic management, agriculture, medical services, culture, education and custom, in order to upgrade national capacities of African countries for sustainable development.
He proposed governments on both sides should provide adequate policy consultation and information services for businesses to cooperate, and make their legal systems business-friendly.
The speech was delivered at the conclusion of Huang's four-nation tour of Africa, including a stay in Tunisia for the World Summit on the Information Society and official visits to Guinea and Botswana.
During the visit, more than 10 economic cooperation protocols and infrastructural project contracts have been inked. Top executives of telecommunications equipment providers Huawei and ZTE were among Huang's entourage.
At Wednesday's bilateral economic forum, Madagascan Prime Minister Sylla spoke highly of the results of economic cooperation with China and expressed appreciation for China's measures aimed at pushing forward economic and trade relations.
China's experience in economic development is also helpful to Madagascar during its ongoing drive to transform the current subsistence economy to the market economy, he said.
Madagascar is willing to further strengthen mutual trust and deepen cooperation for a win-win result that benefit both sides, he said.
(Xinhua News Agency November 24, 2005)