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China boosts African aid

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China boosts African aid

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Beijing has promised to boost aid to African countries including more than 6.5 billion euros worth of low interest loans over the next three years.

The offer came at a China Africa Cooperation conference in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt. Conference host, the Egyptian leader Hosni Mubarak, welcomed that on the basis that Africa has been hit hard by the economic crisis. He told conference delegates: “It looks like the developed countries will be able to come out of recession next year; that’s not the case with the developing nations, and in particular African countries. It will take longer for them to get over the crisis, and to recover from the consequences of it.” Beijing also plans to cancel the debt of some of the poorest African countries. Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao said the money would go to infrastructure, as well as building up African businesses and social programmes including agriculture, schools, hospitals and green energy projects. China has long had a political relationship with Africa and in recent years growing economic ties. Critics – in the West, but also some in Africa – accuse China of wanting to exploit the continent, seeing it just as a supplier of minerals and a market for Chinese goods while ignoring the human rights abuses by many African governments.