The leaders of more than 40 African countries are in Beijing for a summit that highlights China’s expanding links with Africa. Several new business deals and aid packages are expected to be signed at the forum, which is taking place near Tiananmen Square. China’s trade with the African continent is expected to be worth 40 billion euros this year, and the volume of African exports to Asia has risen by 20 percent over the past five years.
“African leaders say they believe that China is their trustworthy partner and we are friends,” said a Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman. “They’re ready to engage in full cooperation with China based on equality, mutual benefits and common development.”
More investment in Africa, especially in the energy sector, is also due to be discussed at the summit. China rejects World Bank claims that it is ignoring human rights and environmental concerns when lending to Africa, as well as Human Rights Watch accusations that Chinese policies are propping up some of Africa’s worst rights abusers.