China strengthens ties with Africa with $20 bln loan

China is going to loan $20 billion to African countries over the next three years, aiming to boost economic ties with the continent, the country’s President Hu Jintao announced at the fifth ministerial meeting of the Forum on China-Africa Co-operation.

­The loan is double the amount China offered African nations three years ago in 2009. The money would be provided to support infrastructure, agriculture, creating jobs and the development of small businesses in African countries, as many of them struggle with poverty, Hu stressed.
On Wednesday, Hu Jintao and Premier Wen Jiabao held bilateral talks with top African officials.

Many European leaders are critical of the China’s “cheque book” approach to cooperation with African countries. They say China tries to get access to Africa’s rich resources by supporting leaders such as Equatorial Guinea’s President Teodoro Obiang Nguema, who has been condemned for human rights abuses and corruption.

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