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Premier to roll out aid plans for Africa's growth

A number of far-reaching plans to help the livelihood of Africans will be announced by Premier Wen Jiabao next week at a summit between Beijing officials and African leaders.

"We will pay more attention to the buildup of Africa's capability of independent development," said Deputy Commerce Minister Chen Jian at a press briefing for Wen's visit to Egypt scheduled from Nov 6-8. Chen said the deadline for the plans had been fast approaching.

"We will further push China-Africa cooperation forward in various fields such as agriculture, food safety, infrastructure construction, trade, investment and healthcare."

The premier is scheduled to attend the opening ceremony of the fourth ministerial meeting of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation in the Egyptian resort city of Sharm el-Sheikh on Nov 8. He is scheduled to make a keynote speech there.

In November 2006, Beijing hosted its first summit with African leaders at the third ministerial meeting of the forum. President Hu Jintao then listed eight major projects China would accomplish to boost Africa's development, ranging from canceling debts owed by the poorest African countries to lifting tariffs on goods.

"Now the eight measures have been comprehensively implemented," Chen said.

Chinese officials and African leaders will also adopt a declaration and an action plan to chart the path for further China-Africa cooperation from 2010 to 2012, Assistant Foreign Minister Zhai Jun said.

Dai Yan, a former Chinese diplomat posted in Ghana, said that after years of striving and assistance from other countries such as China, Africa now "has got a foundation for self-development".

"So for the next three years China will try to push it forward down the road," Dai said.

Wen is also scheduled to visit the Cairo-based headquarters of the League of Arab States. He will sign a pack of cooperative agreements with his Egyptian counterpart, Zhai said.

Egypt is the first Arab and African country to have established diplomatic relations with China. It is also the first developing country to set up a strategic cooperative relationship with China.

Zhai said some African state and government leaders will attend the opening of the summit on Nov 8.