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China to boost cooperation with African nations: vice premier

BEIJING, Oct. 11 (Xinhua) -- Chinese Vice Premier Li Keqiang said Monday China will deepen friendly cooperation with African nations and further improve the decade-old China-Africa Cooperation Forum (FOCAC).

"It's the long-term and unswerving strategy of China to enhance solidarity and cooperation with African states," Li said when meeting Ugandan Foreign Minister Sam Kutesa.

Launched in October 2000, the FOCAC was designed as a platform for collective consultation and dialogue between the world's largest developing country and the vast developing continent.

China-Africa cooperation will be deepened in various fields and the mechanisms of FOCAC will be improved, Li said.

Following several ministerial meetings and summits under the FOCAC framework, China and African nations have witnessed and benefited from soaring bilateral trade, two-way investment and cultural exchange.

In 2000, China-Africa trade totaled 10 billion U.S. dollars. It had surged to 106.8 billion U.S. dollars by 2008, according to China's Ministry of Commerce.

The rocketing growth slowed down in 2009 due to the global economic downturn. But the trade volume bounced back to 61.2 billion dollars in the first half of this year, up 65 percent year on year.

Chinese investment in Africa has increased 46 percent over the last decade, with most projects focusing on water conservancy, electricity generation, communications and information technology.

During the meeting, Li and Kutesa, who is on his first visit to China since taking office, hailed the close cooperation between China and Uganda. They vowed to further promote bilateral ties and cooperation.

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