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Projects in Africa made possible by Chinese aid / by Chen Boyuan, May 4, 2014 Adjust font size:

The Chinese Premier Li Keqiang left for a visit to Africa on May 4, his first trip to Africa since assuming his current post as the top Chinese government leader. This year also marks the 50th anniversary of former Premier Zhou Enlai's first visit to the continent.

Built by Chinese engineers in 1970, the 1860 km-long Tanzania-Zambia railway links Tanzania and Zambia.

China, while seeking its own development, has been providing aid to African countries without attaching any political conditions.

No political conditions

Africa, where there is a concentration of developing countries, is a key destination for Chinese foreign aid. China started providing aid to Africa in 1956. Decades later, China's aid to Africa grows rapidly and balances friendship and interest. Projects on poverty reduction, medical care, health, education, training and infrastructure are among the key areas that Chinese aid goes to, in order to improve the social and economic conditions of aid recipients.

Assistance from China has raised African countries' capacity for independent development, besides creating concrete benefits to the African people.

Lu Shaye, chief of the Department of African Affairs at China's Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said that there are three models for Chinese aid to Africa: non-reimbursable aid, interest-free loans and concessional loans; and four models of how projects are completed: package projects, technological cooperation, in-kind aid and cash aid.

China's aid to Africa carries no political conditions. Chinese foreign minister Wang Yi said in March that China has helped with more than 1,000 package projects in Africa and has demanded no political conditions.

Deepened China-Africa ties

The reciprocal nature of China-Africa cooperation features both in politics and economics. In politics, African countries are very friendly to China. They have been supporting China on issues of China's sovereignty and territorial integrity.

In 1971, as China attempted to restore its legitimate seat in the United Nations, 26 of the total 76 countries who voted in favor were African countries. After the devastating Wenchuan Earthquake in May, 2008, Equatorial Guinea, a country with a population of only two million people, donated two million Euros to China.

China's economy has also benefited a lot from Sino-African cooperation, said Lu, in his response to criticism about China's motives for giving aid to Africa.

On the one hand, Africa provides China with both raw materials and a market for its industrial products. On the other hand, going to Africa offers Chinese businesses extra room for development, besides creating job opportunities. China's aid to Africa creates a benign environment for China-Africa trade as well as resource exploration.

Major China aid projects in Africa

• National Theatre of Ghana

The National Theatre of Ghana, which opened in 1992, is a landmark in the Victoriaborg district of Accra, Ghana. It was built by China and offered as a gift to Ghana. The theater's image is on Ghana's currency, the cedi.

• Julius Nyerere International Convention Center

The Julius Nyerere International Convention Center is a modern convention center located in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. It is named after Julius Nyerere, Tanzania's first president. The 180 million yuan-worth convention center was completed in September, 2012. On March 25, 2013, the visiting Chinese President Xi Jinping handed over the key to the center to his Tanzanian counterpart Jakaya Kikwete.

• Tanzania-Zambia Railway (TAZARA)

Built by Chinese engineers in 1970, the 1860 km-long Tanzania-Zambia railway links Tanzania and Zambia. In building the railway, China shipped up to one million tons of material and equipment. Nearly 50 thousand engineers worked for the project.

• Estádio do Zimpeto (Mozambique National Stadium)

Estádio do Zimpeto is a multi-purpose stadium in Zimpeto, Mozambique, which was inaugurated on 23 April 2011. It has a floor space of nearly 270 thousand square meters and a capacity of 42,000 spectators. The stadium is one of the biggest projects built with funds from China in Africa.

• African Union Conference Center and Office Complex (AUCC)

The AUCC is China's largest aid project in Africa since the Tanzania-Zambia Railway. Located in Addis Ababa, the capital of Ethiopia, the project cost US$200 million.

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