Pan Africanism : China and Mugabe Dominate EU-Africa Meeting

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  1. Destee

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    Jan 22, 2001
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    China and Mugabe Dominate EU-Africa Meeting

    European leaders will seek closer economic ties with Africa at a weekend summit to counter China's growing influence on the continent, while grappling with discord caused by Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe's attendance.

    ``China's role in Africa is a wake-up call for the EU, which has for too long taken Africa and its relationship with the continent for granted,'' Christopher Alden of the London School of Economics and author of ``China in Africa'' said in a telephone interview.

    China has agreed to double aid to Africa by 2009 and provide $8 billion in loans and investment, eroding Europe's clout that dates back to the colonial era of the 19th century. President Hu Jintao's government, which needs to secure access to oil and other resources to fuel China's 11.5 percent growth rate, attaches no political demands to the aid and investment.

    Trade between China and Africa swelled 40 percent to $55.5 billion in 2006, making the Asian nation Africa's third-largest trading partner after the EU and the U.S. More than 800 Chinese companies currently do business in Africa.

    ``China's growing role in Africa has led some people, who were otherwise distracted, to say that if China's this interested then we'd better be interested too,'' Joao Gomes Cravinho, deputy foreign minister of Portugal which holds the European Union's rotating, six-month presidency, said in a phone interview.

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