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Angola calls for rebalancing of ties during Chinese premier's visit
by Staff Writers
Luanda (AFP) May 09, 2014

China's Li signs trade, conservation agreements in Kenya
Nairobi (AFP) May 10, 2014 - Chinese Premier Li Keqiang signed a string of economic deals with Kenya on Saturday on the final leg of a four-nation Africa tour that has underscored Beijing's growing ties with the continent.

After talks with Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta, Li and his delegation signed off on 17 agreements that include provisions for economic cooperation grants, interest-free and concessional loans and assistance to build a new railway link from the Indian Ocean port city of Mombasa to Nairobi and rest of east Africa.

Wildlife conservation was also on the agenda, with Li keen to show official Chinese support for Kenya's efforts to combat the rampant poaching of elephants and rhino in the face of huge demand for ivory and rhino horns in Asia, particularly China.

One of the agreements covered the provision of equipment for Kenya's embattled anti-poaching force.

Speaking in a joint news conference, Kenyatta tanked China for its "continued support and cooperation in our effort to combat and eventually eliminate the illegal trade in ivory as well as in our other initiatives to preserve our natural heritage."

He also stressed "Asia and Africa's common struggles against imperialism and colonialism".

The Chinese official has been on a four-country tour of Africa, his first since taking office last year, with the world's second-biggest economy keen to boost its presence on the continent to find new markets and opportunities.

Li will also meet regional leaders on Sunday in Kenya, including Paul Kagame of Rwanda, Salva Kiir of war-torn South Sudan, Jakaya Kikwete of Tanzania and Yoweri Museveni of Uganda.

East African leaders have been looking to China for help to build a modern railway to link the Burundian capital Bujumbura, passing though Uganda and Rwanda, with a proposed branch line heading to South Sudan.

The president of oil-rich Angola called for broader economic ties with Beijing on Friday as Chinese Premier Li Keqiang embarked on a two-day visit.

President Jose Eduardo dos Santos said there was scope to deepen and broaden ties with the Asian economic superpower, by shifting away from infrastructure and other projects.

"It's possible to increase and diversify economic relations between Angola and China, giving more weight to direct investment from Chinese firms to produce basic consumer goods, instead of services or public works."

He also called for Chinese firms to look for "mutually beneficial partnerships with Angolan businesses."

China currently buys nearly 40 percent of Angola's crude oil output and Angola is its leading destination for investment in Africa.

A $14.5 billion Chinese credit line has fuelled an Angolan construction boom that has seen a football stadium, airports and hundreds of kilometres of roads sprout up in the southern African nation.

But there is local anger that these projects have brought up to 300,000 Chinese workers to the country amid high levels of domestic unemployment and poverty.

For his part Li said the two countries could pursue "pragmatic cooperation in the fields of energy, finance, infrastructure, agriculture, urban construction and industry."

The Chinese premier is on a four-country tour of Africa, his first since taking office last year, with the world's second-biggest economy keen to boost its presence on the continent to find new markets and opportunities.


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