(Fixes formatting. Corrects figure for wildlife aid in fifth
paragraph. Earlier state media reports put the figure at $100
million, but transcript of speech puts figure at $10 million))
BEIJING May 5 Chinese Premier Li Keqiang
unveiled extra aid for Africa totalling at least $12 billion on
Monday, and offered to share advance technology with the
continent to help with development of high-speed rail, state
Li pledged the additional funding in a speech at the
Organisation of African Union headquarters in the Ethiopian
capital, Addis Ababa.
China will increase credit lines to Africa by $10 billion
and will boost the China-Africa Development Fund by $2 billion,
bringing it to a total of $5 billion, Li said, according to the
official Xinhua news agency. He provided no details of the
Li "depicted a dream that all African capitals are connected
with high-speed rail, so as to boost pan-African communication
and development," the report said. As China has advanced
technologies in this area, Li said China was ready to work with
Africa "to make this dream come true".
China will also offer $10 million in aid for wildlife
protection, Li added, for a part of the world where the Chinese
appetite ivory and rhino horns have driven some species to the
brink of extinction.
It is Li's first visit to Africa since he became premier
last year, and follows on from a trip to the continent by
President Xi Jinping in March 2013, when he renewed an offer of
$20 billion in loans to Africa between 2013 and 2015.
Li said that the new $10 billion credit line would be on top
of the existing $20 billion already offered, the China News
Chinese officials said last week that Li's trip, which also
takes in oil-rich Nigeria and Angola, would not simply be for
energy deals and Beijing will be seeking to help boost African
Li said he hoped that some of the loans being offered would
be used to support small and medium-seized companies in Africa,
adding that economic development on the continent offered huge
opportunities for both China and Africa.
"History and reality make clear to all: China's development
gives opportunity to Africa; Africa develops, and China also
benefits," he said.
Trips by Chinese leaders to Africa are often marked by big
natural resource deals, triggering criticism from some quarters
that China is only interested in the continent's mineral and
China has a relationship with Africa which pre-dates its
current resource-hungry economic boom. In previous decades,
China's Communist leaders supported national liberation
movements and newly independent states across the continent.
Africans broadly see China as a healthy counterbalance to
Western influence but, as ties mature, there are growing calls
from policymakers and economists for more balanced trade
(Reporting by Ben Blanchard; Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore)