China announces it will put another $10bn into Africa

CHINESE premier Wen Jiabao promised $10bn (&pound;6bn) of low interest loans to African nations over three years, at the opening of the China-Africa summit yesterday.<br /><br />The two-day forum being held in Egypt is being attended by representatives from 50 nations, including Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe and Omar al Bashir from Sudan.<br /><br />Infrastructure, social programmes and the environment are all to be targeted through preferential loans<br /><br />In an eight-point plan, Wen said China would forgive the debts of Africa&rsquo;s poorest governments and build 100 new clean energy projects for the continent. <br /><br />China has cultivated a lot of African business, exporting cheap products to the continent, while also investing heavily in oil and other natural resources.<br /><br />According to official state sources, Chinese investment in Africa reached &pound;16bn by the end of 2008.<br /><br />At the last China-Africa cooperation summit, held in Beijing in 2006, China pledged $5bn of aid and reduced the debt of more than 30 African countries.<br />China&rsquo;s motives are viewed with suspicion in the West, which believes Beijing should take a hard line on the human rights records of some African governments.