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By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

7/10/2014 (9 months ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Asian giant highly interested in African continent's rich natural resources

China has revealed that of the $14 billion foreign aid it doled out between 2010 and 2012, more than half went to Africa. The economic powerhouse of Asia underscores its interests in the African continent's rich, natural resources.

Some say the projects prove to be of little to no benefit for local people.

Some say the projects prove to be of little to no benefit for local people.

Highlights

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

7/10/2014 (9 months ago)

Published in Asia Pacific

Keywords: China, Yuan, Africa, foreign relations, foreign aid, intentions


LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - China has received criticism from the international community for its support of governments with poor human rights records and lack of transparency, such as Zimbabwe, Sudan and Angola.

The report provided no breakdown of aid recipients or any yearly figures. China put its total foreign aid over the past six decades at $41.32 billion.

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Paling in comparison with the United States' foreign aid, which is about $46 billion for fiscal 2015, China says its aid has no political strings attached -- unlike many Western countries.

"China adheres to the principles of not imposing any political conditions, not interfering in the internal affairs of recipient countries and fully respecting the right to independently choose their own paths and models of development," the government said in a policy paper.

Grants, interest-free loans and concessional loans were handed out by the Chinese government, the policy paper said. Nine countries, which included Equatorial Guinea, Mali and Zambia had been forgiven a total of 1.24 billion Yuan in mature interest-free loans.

Some people in Africa say many Chinese projects prove little to no benefit for local people. Materials and even labor have been imported directly from China. Dam schemes have proven divisive too.

China's links with oil-rich African states, such as Sudan and Angola, have also fuelled criticism as well. They say that Beijing only cultivates relations to secure access to energy and raw materials to power its surging economy.

The Foreign Ministry said China's relationship with African nations goes well beyond its quest for resources and encompasses agricultural, health and infrastructure-related projects.

"China's cooperation with Africa is far from being limited to the sphere of natural resources," ministry spokesman Hong Lei told reporters. Foreign aid "is an important manifestation of China's international responsibility."

Others argue China's interest is not entirely mercenary. In one project, Chinese experts trained 500 Liberians to weave bamboo and rattan into products they could sell.

"This program has not only created jobs, brought the locals more income and lifted them out of poverty, but also boosted the bamboo and rattan industry in the country," the paper said.

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