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China meets aid pledges, improves livelihoods
Last Updated(Beijing Time):2010-08-12 10:22


A Chinese doctor (left) teaches local doctors traditional Chinese acupuncture therapy at a hospital in Mozambique. [Yan Fei / For China Daily]

China has fulfilled its pledge to provide the aid for Africa it promised four years ago, the Ministry of Commerce said on Tuesday.

The aid aims to improve the livelihoods of people across the continent, rather than take advantage of the region's natural resources, the ministry said.

In November 2006, President Hu Jintao put forward "Eight Measures on Aiding Africa" at the Beijing Summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation, which included cumulative preferential loans worth $3.3 billion over three years for the construction of 67 projects in sectors such as aviation, telecommunications, electricity and product processing.

The measures include doubling the amount of aid to Africa compared with that in 2006, canceling debts owed by Africa's 33 poorest and least-developed nations which expired at the end of 2005, and enhancing cooperation with African nations in human resources, agriculture, medical treatment, social development and education.

"The measures have all been implemented as scheduled," the ministry said in a statement to China Daily.

And as part of the efforts to further strengthen the relationship between China and Africa, China released another aid policy, the "Eight New Measures", last November.

Speaking at the time, Premier Wen Jiabao said: "The Chinese people cherish the sincere friendship toward the African people. China's support for Africa's development is concrete and real."

According to the new aid program, within the next three years, China will forgive the government debts of the poorest African nations, improve medical facilities in 30 hospitals already built by China and provide support to 100 clean energy projects developing solar power, methane, etc.

"The 'Eight New Measures' were launched at a time when the Chinese government is committed to pushing forward the China-Africa New Strategic Partnership," said the ministry.

China's aid for Africa has been criticized by some in developed nations who claim that the main objective is to obtain natural resources to fuel the nation's economic growth.

But Liu Naiya, an expert on African studies at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, pointed out that, "through the measures, China expects to improve every aspect of local people's lives.

"How could these critics come to the conclusion that China's measures do not take African people's needs into consideration? I cannot see any logic in their argument," said Liu.

"China treats Africa as a close friend and thus it wants to help the latter, but in the minds of some Westerners, to give help to someone means to naturally benefit from them. Therefore, they do not understand China's generosity," Liu explained.

In the past decade, Sino-African trade has steadily increased.

In 2008 alone, the trade volume grew by more than 30 percent to $106.8 billion, according to statistics from the Ministry of Commerce.

Source:China Daily 
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