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AfDB says China-Africa trade, economic cooperation important

ADDIS ABABA, Oct. 27 (Xinhua) -- The trade relations between China and Africa are moving fast, and China is a good economic partner of Africa, Mthuli Ncube, the vice president of the African Development Bank (AfDB), has said.

In an exclusive interview with Xinhua on Thursday here in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, Ncube, who is also the chief economist, said China has a strong relationship with Africa at the moment and that the relationship is getting stronger every year.

Ncube also said that China is filling the gap in the area of infrastructure development in Africa by making strong investment on the continent.

"It is around several pillars. The first pillar I would say trade, trading activity. China now accounts more than 10 percent of trade with Africa. This is creating everything...So it is a strong relationship," said the vice president.

" The second pillar is around investment. China has been investing strongly in infrastructure. Africa is big infrastructure deficit and this gap is being closed partly through investment from China."

"The other area of cooperation is on soft loans. Some of these soft loans even are coming through the AfDB, through what we call the African development Fund (ADF), where China has been a contributor for several years.This is helpful for Africa. Another pillar is knowledge sharing, particularly around infrastructure development. Africa can learn a lot from China in this regard," Ncube said.

The AfDB last month launched a book on China-Africa partnership.

Speaking of the book, Ncube said the book primarily focuses on the economic facts and trading between the two sides.

He said the book emphasizes on the foreign direct investment (FDI) China is making in Africa.

The book analyses and details the rapid and continuing growth of trade between China and Africa.

Ncube said that China has been establishing industries and economic zones in African countries where opportunities are created for local communities.

Africa is holding 6th edition of Economic Conference at the UN Economic Commission for Africa (UN-ECA) Conference Center here in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia under the theme "Green Economy and Structural Transformation in Africa."

And asked about the conference and the green economy theme, and also cooperation with China in this regard, Ncube said there are opportunities for China to invest in green infrastructure development in the African continent. "Green economy is a multifaceted issue. It is about agricultural transformation in a way that reduces vulnerability of African farmers to rain-fed agriculture. 80 percent of Africa's agriculture depends on the rain. So, how do we reduce that dependence? it is about investing in irrigation infrastructure, water management..."

" You know techniques to dealing with issues like erosion, desertification. that is one aspect and another aspect is about investing in green infrastructure. What we call it using green technologies, infrastructure something like hydropower, it is about investing in wind farms, solar farms, it is about investing in geothermal energy, and so many opportunities in infrastructure investments... for foreign investors like China," he said.

"There is technology sharing in the agriculture sector; in the issues for instance efficient farming system, there is a lot to learn and cooperate on that. Secondly, there is the technology itself, it is about coming with around resistant crops; all those ideas and techniques are in China and other places, china is very strong in the area of bio-technology," added the vice president.

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