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China Offers Africa $5 Billion in Loans and Credits


Chinese President Hu Jintao has announced that his country will provide five billion dollars in loans and credits to African nations over the next three years.

Mr. Hu made the pledge today as he opened a summit in Beijing attended by officials from almost every African nation.

He said China will build schools and hospitals and will train 15,000 African professionals. He also promised to double China's aid to African nations by 2009.

Leaders or senior officials from 48 African nations are attending the two-day summit, which is focusing on strengthening economic and political ties.

On Friday, China rejected suggestions that it is acting like a colonial power in its search for oil and markets in Africa. A foreign ministry spokesman Liu Jianchao said the growing ties are beneficial for both China and Africa.

Trade between China and Africa's 53 nations grew 10 fold in the past decade and is expected to reach 50 billion dollars this year.

The growing ties also have attracted criticism from some labor groups in Africa that complain about poor treatment by Chinese companies and a flood of low-cost manufactured goods.

Humanitarian and activist groups also have accused China of selling arms to authoritarian governments in Africa.

Information for this report is provided by Reuters and AP

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