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Bank Chief Wants Closer Links with China
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As the African Development Bank Group prepares to convene in Shanghai this week, a top bank official said China should invest more in Africa.

The group's 2007 annual meetings will open Wednesday in Shanghai and are expected to solidify links between the two sides, bank president Donald Kaberuka said.

Kaberuka said he expects China's investments in Africa to surpass US$2 billion this year. At the end of 2006, Chinese investments in Africa reached US$11.7 billion and were focused on manufacturing, trade, transportation and agriculture.

"Trade links between China and Africa surged five times during the past six years," Kaberuka said. "We are keen to see our bank work as a communication link between the two sides and play a bigger role in promoting the bilateral relations."

China's official statistics show that trade between China and Africa developed fast in recent years. Trade volume exceeded US$10 billion in 2000 and climbed to US$55.5 billion last year.

"Economic growth has picked up in the past six years in Africa, and we welcome all partners of Africa to come to invest and seek opportunities in the continent," Kaberuka said. "We want to move this partnership not only to the traditional energy and telecommunications sectors but also to other aspects."

China is one of 24 Non-Regional Members of the bank. The 42nd Annual Meeting of the Board of Governors of the African Development Bank and the 33rd Meeting of the Board of the African Development Fund come after the Beijing Summit of the China-Africa Cooperation Forum in November 2006.

Kaberuka said the bank selected Shanghai to host the meetings partly because China is a fast growing market and that Africa is keen to learn from China.

Moreover, the two sides could work together in a number of issues, such as poverty eradication, environmental protection and pursuit of a sustainable development, he said. "We look forward to subjects of common interests to be discussed," Kaberuka said.

The annual meetings mark the most important gathering of the African continent's senior finance and development policymakers and experts. Each year, the events bring together private and public sector managers, as well as finance ministers of the Bank Group's 77 member countries.

Preparations for this year's meetings have been underway since last year. An African Development Bank Group delegation, led by the institution's secretary-general, visited China earlier to examine conference facilities, accommodation and transport arrangements, IT and communications infrastructure, media coverage needs, as well as protocol, health and security issues.

"We are happy with the arrangement," Kaberuka said.

(China Daily May 14, 2007)

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