Hu offers loans to Mozambique

Chinese president pledges loans and debt write-offs on last stage of Africa tour.

    Hu said China was keen to Mozambique
    rebuild after years of war [EPA]
    Chinese business is seen as a key component of the reconstruction effort in Mozambique, a country still struggling to recover from a 16-year civil war which ended in 1992.
    Mozambique has as yet largely untapped reserves of coal and natural gas - the kind of natural resources that China is eager to tap to fuel its booming economy.
    As elsewhere in Africa, the balance of trade is heavily in Beijing's favour with cheap made-in-China clothing items filling Mozambique's stores, while Mozambican exports to China are largely confined to wood, sugar and other agricultural products.
    But throughout his Africa tour the Chinese president has repeatedly stressed that Africa has as much to benefit as China from the burgeoning relationship.
    Trade between China and Africa has tripled in the last five years and is expected to grow even faster in the coming years as China looks to secure supplies of mineral resources, raw materials and energy.
    The growing relationship has led some to accuse China of trying to impose a new "colonial" style relationship on Africa – an impression Hu has been eager to reject.
    Earlier in the tour, during a speech in South Africa - China's largest trading partner in the continent - Hu said his country would "certainly not do anything harmful to the interests of Africa and its people."
    He said almost a century of foreign exploitation in China by Western powers had permanently scarred Beijing and therefore it was against any form of "colonialism" or "slavery".
    'Common ground'
    "China and Africa have extensive common ground and a fine tradition of cooperation on major international issues. It serves our shared interest to strengthen coordination in international affairs," he said.
    Leaving Mozambique on Friday, Hu’s African tour concludes with a visit to the Seychelles islands in the Indian Ocean, where he is expected to announce further grants and loans worth $10 m.
    Hu will hold talks with the Seychelles' president and the two are expected to sign technical and economic cooperation agreements, notably on fisheries, tourism and investment promotion.
    Hu began his eight-nation, 12-day tour of Africa, his third visit to the continent since taking office in 2003, in Cameroon on January 30.
    He went on to visit Liberia, Sudan, Zambia, Namibia and South Africa.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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