December 10th, 2007 | Xinhua China's role in Africa welcomed
Increased interest in Africa by emerging economies such as China and India is good news for the continent, an Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) official said on Saturday.
“It’s a major event and good news for Africa to have new players (on the economic field),” OECD chief development economist Javier Santiso said, and described the criticisms against China’s approach to Africa as “unfair”.
China-Africa ties have been criticized a lot, he said. One of the criticisms is that China has got a free rein in Africa, he said, referring to China’s alleged focus on energy and raw materials.
“But if we look at the numbers in detail… they do not suggest that this is the case.”
The focus of China-Africa relationship is not on minerals and oil, as critics allege, instead it’s on infrastructure and telecommunications.
China is also involved in helping African countries advance their agriculture production mode, he said.
The Chinese government has decided to send 100 senior agriculture experts to Africa the three years, with half of them reaching the continent by the end of this year.
The rapid growth of China’s trade with Africa indicates a diversification in Africa’s trade ties, Santiso said.
Last year, China-Africa trade touched $55.5 billion, an increase of almost 40 percent over 2005, and the figure could cross $100 billion before 2010.
An European Commission (EC) official on development policy, Luis Riera also welcomed China’s involvement in Africa, saying the EC, the executive body of the European Union (EU), would like to coordinate with China and other major players to devise a policy on Africa.