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China Sends 1st Aid Shipment to Africa After Summit
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China sent 22,000 tons of fertilizer to Zimbabwe on Tuesday, the first aid shipment to Africa following a landmark gathering between their leaders in Beijing early this month.


According to a framework agreement reached at the Beijing Summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation on November 4-5, China will provide 200,000 tons of fertilizer to Zimbabwe, an inland country which uses fertilizer to grow tobacco and farm produce.


The first shipment is aboard the vessel Aristeam that departed from north China's Tianjin port Tuesday morning.


Tianjin port authorities said the journey will take weeks. "It's hard to tell how long it will take exactly," said a spokesman. "The product will transit via Beira port in Mozambique."


The largest seaport in north China sends ships to more than 400 ports in at least 180 countries and regions. Its cargo throughput is expected to total 250 million tons this year.


At the Beijing Summit in early November, President Hu Jintao announced a package of major assistance, investment, trade and other key cooperation projects with Africa in an effort to forge a new type of strategic partnership.


Hu said China will double its assistance to Africa by 2009, providing US$3 billion of preferential loans and US$2 billion of preferential buyer's credits, establishing a special fund of US$5 billion to encourage Chinese investment in Africa and canceling debts owed by certain heavily-indebted or least developed African countries that have diplomatic ties with China.


China and Zimbabwe established diplomatic relations on the day Zimbabwe declared independence on April 18, 1980.


(Xinhua News Agency November 15, 2006)

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