Wednesday, 28 January 2009


AU Commission Chairperson lauds China's
role in Africa's
infrastructure development

ADDIS ABABA, Jan. 28 (Xinhua) -- Chairperson of the
Commission of the African Union (AU) Jean Ping has spoken
highly of China's role in Africa's infrastructure
development, saying that the Chinese "dragon" has played a
fundamental part in the improvement of the infrastructure
facilities across African countries.

In an exclusive interview with China's official Xinhua News
Agency on the eve of 12th AU Summit to be held here from
Feb. 1 to3, Ping said China is Africa's key strategic
partner and has made significant contributions to the
growth of infrastructure in Africa.

The theme of this summit is infrastructure development in
Africa with a particular focus on the transport and energy

The AU chief said Chinese firms have rich experiences in
overseas contract business, praising the quality of the
roads, railways, bridges and airports constructed by
Chinese firms.

Due to China's involvement in Africa, the infrastructure
facilities have been greatly improved, Ping said,
mentioning China's participation in Ethiopian and Algerian
roads construction.

In Ethiopia, Chinese firms have built the Ring Road in the
capital city of Addis Ababa, and in Algeria, Chinese firms
have won the bid to construct the Algerian East-West
Highway, according to Ping.

The backward infrastructure is severely hampering the
development of Africa, he bemoaned.

Some African sub-regional groups, like SADC (the Southern
African Development Community) and ECOWAS (the Economic
Community Of West African States) have a big population and
variety of consumer groups, but inadequate infrastructure
facilities have hindered the population migration, Ping
said, adding that the backward infrastructure has been a
bottleneck curbing the development of Africa.

Ping urged African countries to share China's experience in
infrastructure development.

The Chinese people understand the role of infrastructure in
national economic development more than any other, he said.

China's success in economy lies on increasing
infrastructure construction, he added.

The Chinese people are now proud of excellent
infrastructure in their country, and because of excellent
infrastructure facilities developed over the years, China
has therefore made tremendous economic achievements, said
Ping, who was also former deputy prime minister and foreign
minister of Gabon.

The AU chief lauded China's promise not to cut aid to
Africa despite international financial crisis.

Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao, when meeting with Angolan
President Jose Eduardo dos Santos in December last year,
said China would not reduce assistance to Africa because of
the international financial crisis.

Such a promise from China will play a very active role to
offset the impact of financial crisis on Africa, he said.

Ping also praised the new type of Africa-China strategic
partnership, based on mutual benefit and win-win
cooperation. He said that statistics can prove the
much-increased cooperation between Africa and China.

The Africa-China trade volume has surpassed 100 billion
U.S. dollars and China has now become Africa's second
largest trade partner, he said.

Due to China's huge imports from Africa, Africa now runs a
trade surplus against China, he added.

Ping advised Chinese firms to develop Africa's processing
industry, stressing that the development of processing
industry in Africa will add the value of Africa's raw

Chinese firms will also benefit from processing Africa's
raw materials, he said.

Ping took Africa's timber trade for example, and said
logging processing on one hand increases the value of logs,
on the other hand lowers the cost of maritime transport.