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China's Voice in Africa
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The eighth session of the African Union (AU) Summit ended on Tuesday in Addis Ababa, with the continent's peace and security issues taking center stage.

Peace and security problems amounting to genocide have continued to plague parts of the continent. AU Commission Chairman Alpha Oumar Konare called on all Africans to strengthen their solidarity and create a strong and responsible Africa whose voice is heard.

Attending the AU summit in Ethiopia, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon announced that the world organization is ready to assist Africa's development, particularly in working with governments to reach the UN's Millennium Development Goals.
How the continent fares in reaching these goals for building a better world is a matter of life and death for millions of Africans. It is truly a test of the UN's ability as to whether it will be able to carry out its mandate.

Not just the UN but China has made a commitment to Africa. President Hu Jintao's current Africa trip shows African countries and the world that China is as good as its word.

By 2009, China will double its 2006 assistance to Africa in an effort to forge a new type of strategic partnership and strengthen cooperation in more areas and at higher levels.

Such assistance is extended with no strings attached.

On Monday, the day before Hu began his Africa visit, the Ministry of Commerce announced that by the end of this year, China will forgive 168 interest-free loans that matured at the end of 2005 to 33 African countries. The cancellation of debts owed by these countries, among the most indebted and most underdeveloped nations in the world, is evidence of China's commitment to the continent.

Another dimension of expanding China-Africa relations, China will host the 2007 annual general meeting of the African Development Bank Group. The meeting presents an opportunity to further explore growing economic relations between Africa and Asia.

Hopefully, China's growing cooperation with the continent will improve African prospects for peace and stability.

(China Daily February 1, 2007)

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