China says it has signed nearly two billion dollars in deals with African nations. The announcement came on the second and final day of Beijing's giant summit of African countries.
China's communist government intended this meeting to be large and showy, aimed at impressing on African leaders that Beijing means business. On Sunday, Beijing delivered.
The official Xinhua news agency said Chinese companies had signed 16 agreements worth 1.9 billion dollars with African governments and businesses. It gave no details.
The agreements were signed at a meeting of Chinese and African entrepreneurs attended by African and Chinese leaders, including Premier Wen Jiabao.
Mr. Wen says China's outreach to Africa is sincere, unselfish and has no political conditions attached.
It is precisely China's policy of providing aid and investment without conditions that has triggered criticism from some in the West, who say Beijing is undermining efforts to promote transparency and human rights on the continent.
Mr. Wen promised that China's engagement in Africa would be -- in his words -- open, just, fair, and transparent.
At the start of the summit Saturday, Chinese President Hu Jintao pledged to double aid to the continent by the year 2009 and provide a five billion dollar loan and credit package.
China says its trade with African nations increased tenfold between 1995 and 2005 and is expected to top 50 billion dollars this year. On Saturday, Premier Wen called for it to reach 100 billion by 2020.
Much of the trade has been in oil. African nations, including Sudan, Angola, and Equatorial Guinea - countries with poor human rights records - supply roughly a third of China's petroleum imports.
A high-ranking official at China's commerce ministry said that in all, about 25,00 agreements were in discussion ahead of the summit. The number highlights the intensity with which China is seeking deals to keep the flow of raw materials
coming - deals that Beijing desperately needs to keep fueling its economic engine.