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China-Africa economic growth to facilitate stronger relations
 

NAIROBI, Dec. 11 (Xinhua) -- The growing economies of China and Africa are providing a strong foundation for deepening economic and social relations, according to the head of Kenya's public sector Think-Tank, the National Economic and Social Council (NESC).

Julius Muia said this will be made easier by the existing economic and social model of relations that is unconditional. "The Chinese model of relations with Africa is very different because it divorces politics from economics," Muia told Xinhua in an interview on Friday.

He said when bilateral relations are not tied to any conditions, they create opportunities to explore broader areas of cooperation that benefits the people of respective countries. "China has been a developing country and it's easier for it to relate to a developing Africa and this is an opportunity it has utilized very well." "I can see relations between the two entities continuing to grow. Africa needs China as a development partner. In Kenya, we have seen in a short while the infrastructural transformation as a result of our relations. China's economy is growing and there is no country even outside Africa that will want to ignore this fact, " said Muia.

He said Africa should approach future relations with China on a collective basis under the African Union. "I see this as the best model of cooperation for both entities. For Africa, it will allow it to cooperate with China on trans- national issues like development of infrastructure that runs across several countries. It will also be able to have a stronger voice for trade negotiations with China," he said.

Both partners have already taken measures to establish a wider forum of cooperation.

During the Fourth Ministerial Conference of the China-Africa Cooperation Forum (FOCAC) last year, China announced eight new measures the Chinese government will take to strengthen cooperation in the next three years.

Among them was commitment to provide 10 billion U.S. dollars in concessional loans to African countries and support Chinese financial institutions in setting up a special loan of 1 billion dollars for small-and medium-sized African businesses.

The measures included commitment by China to build clean energy projects in Africa, carry out joint scientific and technological demonstration projects with Africa, train agricultural technology personnel for Africa and offer assistance on medical care, health, human resources development and education.

Africa has said it would want China to increase its foreign direct investment in the continent. The proportion is estimated at 2.6 percent of all the China's FDI compared with 6.1 percent to Europe and nearly over 70 percent to the Asian region, according to the Africa Union Commission.



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