China to build $61m AU centre in Addis Ababa
Addis Ababa, January 13, 2008
China signed a deal with the African Union to build a $61 million convention centre at the organisation's headquarters in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi said Beijing would fund the project, due to be finished by 2011, and was committed to helping the continent develop itself.
"China believes integration is in the best interest of African countries," Yang told reporters during a visit. "Africa has every right to develop its resources to become a far more prosperous continent and China is committed to help."
Yang, who is visiting South Africa, Democratic Republic of Congo, Burundi and Ethiopia, is the latest of several senior Chinese officials to come to Africa as Beijing taps the continent's natural resources to fuel its booming economy.
China, the world's fourth-largest economy and second-largest energy user, has extended billions in oil-backed loans and other forms of credit to African nations, with few strings attached, unlike financing from Western banks and international agencies.
Its growing presence has rattled Western nations that had previously dominated trade on the world's poorest continent. - Reuters