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Xi touts opportunity for co-op with Africa

China Daily

China and Mozambique vowed to deepen economic cooperation, top leaders of both countries said on Monday.

President Xi Jinping said in a meeting with visiting Mozambican President Armando Guebuza that there is "an important opportunity" for tangible cooperation between the two nations.

Xi touts opportunity for co-op with Africa

President Xi Jinping meets Mozambique's President Armando Guebuza at the Great Hall of the People on Monday. PHOTO BY XU JINGXING / CHINA DAILY

Mozambique ranked among the least developed economies in the world at the end of its 1992 civil war, and continues to be so today despite a strong macroeconomic performance.

However, David Lipton, the deputy managing director of the IMF, on May 6 praised Mozambique's economic achievements in a year when the country was hit by devastating floods.

He said Mozambique was "undeniably one of Africa's best performers, and one of the fastest-growing economies in the world". The nation's growth reached 7.4 percent in 2012 and is likely to remain at 7 percent this year, he said.

Lipton said most countries in sub-Saharan Africa had been remarkably resilient in the face of the economic crisis. Growth in the region will be 5.4 percent this year and 5.7 percent next year. In contrast, global economic growth is predicted to be 3.3 percent this year and about 4 percent in 2014.

Xi told Guebuza in their meeting that Beijing and Maputo should beef up planning their cooperation and do a good job on key projects in areas including infrastructure construction, energy and agriculture.

Guebuza said his nation wants to learn from China's experience in development and welcomes Chinese enterprises seeking varied forms of joint development cooperation in Mozambique.

Bilateral trade volume reached $1.34 billion in 2012, up 40 percent from last year.

Zhang Hongming, a researcher of African studies at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said the major driving force of Sino-African economic cooperation has been shifting from trade to investment in recent years.

"Limited and separated markets and poor infrastructure have seriously stunted the thriving economic partnership between China and Africa," Zhang said.

He suggested that Chinese enterprises in Africa come up with comprehensive strategies and try to develop service trades, such as finance and shipping, to connect the continent's many markets.

In the meeting, Xi called Mozambique an "all-weather friend" of China in Africa.

Xi met Guebuza in South Africa in late March on the sidelines of the fifth BRICS summit, which groups Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa. After the two nations established diplomatic ties in 1975, China has taken a key role in international assistance to the country.

Under the framework of the China-Africa Cooperation Forum, China waived Mozambique's mature debts of 294 million yuan ($47.8 million) that were due by the end of 2005.

China has also started building a national stadium for Mozambique.

On Monday, Guebuza appreciated China's long-term support to his country's national liberation and development.

The Mozambican president is in China to attend the World Cultural Forum to be held later this week in Hangzhou, Zhejiang province. The forum is set to promote development of Chinese culture and cross-cultural communications. Yang Lihua, an expert on African studies at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said the visit demonstrates the two nations' close ties.

"Mozambique has maintained an intimate friendship with China for long as China had rendered significant support in Maputo's struggle for independence from Portuguese colonization," Yang said.

"Mozambique's economy has seen difficulty after independence, but lately the discovery of oil and gas, and its rich maritime resources, have attracted many foreign investors."