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China says Africa trade up 43.5 percent in Jan-Nov period

by Staff Writers
Beijing (AFP) Dec 23, 2010
Trade between China and Africa surged 43.5 percent year on year in the first 11 months of 2010, Beijing said on Thursday as it pledged to further strengthen ties with the continent.

The value of two-way trade reached 114.8 billion dollars from January to November, the State Council, or Cabinet, said in a report on economic and trade cooperation between China and Africa.

The world's second-largest economy has steadily been beefing up ties with Africa, which is rich in the energy resources and raw materials that China needs to fuel its breakneck growth.

After trade grew at an average rate of 33.5 percent annually between 2000 and 2008, China became Africa's largest trade partner last year even though exchanges declined due to the global financial crisis, the report said.

"China will continue to promote China-Africa economic exchanges... broaden the scope of cooperation, explore new methods of cooperation and share the fruits of development with the African countries," it said.

Chinese capital has poured into the continent despite criticism in the West of Beijing's support for the hardline regimes of leaders such as Sudan's Omar al-Bashir and Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe.

Beijing had pumped a total of 9.3 billion dollars in direct investment into Africa by the end of 2009, covering sectors including mining, agriculture, forestry and construction, according to the paper.

From 2000 to 2009, China cancelled more than 300 debts of 35 African countries worth 18.96 billion yuan (2.9 billion dollars), it said.

Angola and China saw bilateral trade reach 19.8 billion dollars in the first nine months of this year, up more than 80 percent compared with the same period last year, according to Xinhua news agency.

Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping described the oil-rich nation as "China's top partner in Africa for four consecutive years, until 2009", during a visit last month.

Trade between China and South Africa -- which has been expanding since the establishment of full diplomatic relations in 1998 -- last year totalled about 16 billion dollars, according to figures from both countries.

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