February 16, 2007

Country strengthens links with China

Mozambique and China have strengthened economic, political and historical links by signing various cooperation agreements during Chinese President Hu Jintao's visit to Maputo.
The agreements included debt cancellation of US$20 million for loans dating back to 1980. Under a new series of soft loan agreements, China is to disburse about US$155 million, with a further US$40 million coming from the China Eximbank to be invested in public infrastructure in Mozambique. A pilot centre on agricultural technology will be built in the northern province of Nampula with Chinese assistance. In addition, China will also provide Mozambique with an interest-free loan of US$15 million for the construction of a new national stadium - to enable the country to benefit through provision of warm-up facilities for the FIFA World Cup to be held in neighbouring South Africa in 2010.
Hu said trade between the two countries has grown to around US$200 million a year, six times what it was in 2001, and Mozambique's exports to China continue to rise. Mozambican President Armando Guebuza called for further expansion of relations with China. He said the current agreements are "valuable in complementing the efforts of the Mozambican people", but will not address all of the challenges in the struggle against poverty. "We believe that much more can be done for our mutual benefit. We must continue to deepen our excellent relations of friendship and cooperation, link the enormous potential existing in Mozambique to Chinese technologies, and diversify partnerships between businesses of our two countries," Guebuza said.
China hosted a summit with African leaders in Beijing in December, attended by almost all African countries. The summit developed a platform where China and Africa found consensus on the establishment of a new type of strategic partnerships for the next three years.
Hu Jintao's visit to Mozambique and seven other African countries - which started on 30 January in Cameroon - was a step towards putting into action the outcome of the China-Africa summit. (Southern African News Features, Harare)

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