Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi said on Monday China is not looting Africa and the Asian country cares about long-term economic cooperation.
In an exclusive interview with Xinhua ahead of the Beijing Summit and the third Ministerial Conference of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation, Zenawi refuted Western media's allegation that China is dumping low-priced and poor-quality goods to Africa, saying that China is selling good-quality goods at relatively low prices and these goods suit the African market.
"The price is good. The bulk is good. So they compete with other foreign goods, and they compete with domestic goods as well. Who wins the competition? It is this product," he said.
"There are people who say the flood of Chinese goods will undermine Africa's national industry, but I don't think this is a problem," Zenawi said. "If you can't compete with the global market, you have to get it from the global market. There is no alternative. That is globalization."
In Addis Ababa's Merkato open-air market, 90 percent of the goods are made in China, according to Zenawi. "The influx of Chinese goods has improved the life quality of local people," he said.
As to the other allegation that China is looting African resources, Zenami said it is "totally groundless".
"African countries were selling their natural resources to the global market before China came to their market. And they were not getting good prices for those goods. Now China is buying these commodities with better prices," he said.
"So long as Africa was selling its product anywhere, buying it at higher prices can not be a fear to anybody," said the prime minister.
"We want to sell our products at higher prices and buy at lower prices. China is providing an opportunity for us. If others provide a similar opportunity, we take their opportunity."
Unlike some Western countries, China's cooperation with African countries is based on boosting sustainable development in Africa, he said. When Chinese firms are involved in tapping natural resources in Africa, they contribute to the continent's development at the same time.
China refunds the profits it has earned by reinvesting in infrastructure construction, he said.
While developing oil and minerals in Africa, China also pays much attention to the protection of local environment, said Meles.
"We are very comfortable to see China's increasing influence in Africa. So for Africa, the influence of China is not a source of concern or danger. African countries are happy to see the rise of China," he said.
(Xinhua News Agency October 17, 2006)