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China won’t abandon Africa in global credit crunch, says FA minister

Chinese Foreign Affairs Minister Yang Jiechi has said Beijing will not abandon its commitment to Africa despite being stung by the cur r ent global credit crunch.

Speaking during a press conference here at the end of his day-long official tour to Malawi, Yang also urged the rich world to emulate China’s example of not aba n dononing Africa because of the credit crunch.

“China, like everyone else, has been affected by the credit crunch but we will n ot reduce support to Malawi and Africa because of that and we ask other develope d countries not to abandon their commitments to Africa because of the crisis,” he

said, pointing out “Africa is a very important continent.”

Yang, who was scheduled to leave Malawi for South Africa Thursday night, signed an agreement for Beijing to build a US $90m hotel and conference centre in the c a pital, Lilongwe.

China is also building a purpose-built Parliament in Lilongwe as well as a highw ay linking northern Malawi to Zambia.

Malawi broke its decades-old ties with the Republic of China on Taiwan to embrac e mainland China in December 2007.

Beijing took over the construction of the Parliament building and the road from Taipei which disinvested all its projects when Lilongwe severed the decades-old t ies.

Earlier, Yang held closed-door talks with Presient Bingu wa Mutharika in the com mercial capital, Blantyre.

Malawi’s Foreign Affairs Minister Joyce Banda said Yang’s visit is aimed at “str engthen the new ties between Lilongwe and Beijing”.

“It’s now a year after we established diplomatic ties with Beijing so we want to review our cooperation,” Banda said.

Yang brought along a group of Chinese businessmen, who, according to Chinese Amb assador to Malawi Lin songtian, will discuss with their Malawian counterparts on

trade deals.

“There are 350 million smokers in China and we want to buy some of Malawi tobacc o,” he said.

Malawi, the world’s largest producer of burley tobacco, has the US and Europe as its largest traditional markets.

However, according to Tobacco Control Commission General Manager Godfrey Chapola , “with the growing anti-smoking lobby in the West it’s time to look East.”


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