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China to continue aid, investment in Africa
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China pledged Friday to maintain its aid and investment activity in Africa, regardless of the global financial crisis.

The pledge came from Assistant Foreign Minister Zhai Jun, who held a press briefing ahead of President Hu Jintao's visit to Saudi Arabia and Africa.

"China will honor its commitment to support the development of African countries and continue to encourage Chinese companies to further invest in and establish businesses in Africa," Zhai said.

At the invitation of King of Saudi Arabia Abdullah bin Abdul-Aziz, Malian President Amadou Toumany Toure, Senegalese President Abdoulaye Wade, Tanzanian President Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete, Mauritian President Anerood Jugnauth and Prime Minister Navinchandra Ramgoolam, Hu will visit those countries from Feb. 10 to Feb. 17.

Zhai said that to further implement the eight measures Hu announced at the China-Africa summit in Beijing in 2006, China would step up its work with Africa to tackle the challenges posed by the financial crisis.

The Africa policy includes assistance, preferential finance, building a conference center for the African Union, debt cancellation, further opening China's markets to Africa, establishing trade and economic cooperation zones in Africa, and training African professionals.

Since 2007, China has signed bilateral aid accords with 48 African countries and loan agreements with 22 African countries.

China plans a 200-percent increase this year in the value of aid to Africa, compared with 2006.

To encourage Chinese enterprises to invest in Africa, the Chinese government established the China-Africa Fund with an initial sum of 1 billion U.S. dollars, Chen said.

As of the end of 2008, the fund had invested about 400 million U.S. dollars in 20 projects, which brought cumulative investment in Africa by Chinese enterprises to about 2 billion U.S. dollars.

(Xinhua News Agency February 6, 2009)

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