FACTBOX-Growing China-Africa ties
BEIJING Feb 10 (Reuters) - Chinese President Hu Jintao leaves on Tuesday for an 8-day trip to Saudi Arabia and four African states -- Mali, Senegal, Tanzania and Mauritius (see story [nPEK160408]). It will be Hu's first foreign tour for 2009. Following are some facts about Sino-African ties:
TRADE AND INVESTMENT
Trade between China and Africa jumped in the past decade, driven by China's resource needs and growing African demand for cheap Chinese-made products. In 2008, total trade between the two sides was $106.8 billion, up 45.1 percent on 2007.
China's imports from Africa were $56 billion in 2008, and its exports to African states, including both Sub-Saharan and northern Africa, were $50.8 billion. In 2000, trade was $10.5 billion, rising to $55.5 billion in 2006. China's imports from Africa are dominated by oil and mineral shipments from a handful of countries: Angola, Sudan, Nigeria, Zambia, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and its smaller neighbour, the Republic of the Congo.
Newly independent African states became important diplomatic allies of China during the 1950s and 1960s, when Mao Zedong's Communist Party supported independence movements and gave aid to new nations.
In past years, Beijing has also competed with Taiwan, the self-governed island that China says is a breakaway province, for the diplomatic recognition of some African governments.
Hu has made consolidating ties with Africa a feature of his foreign policy. In 2006, Beijing hosted a summit with African leaders and announced promises to boost trade and aid. China has partially cancelled debts owed by the poorest African countries and also lifted tariffs on their goods.
Critics say China's aid to Africa is too closely tied to commercial goals, and that it does not demand sufficient accountability from governments accused of widespread corruption and human rights abuses.
(Sources: Reuters; China Monthly Exports and Imports; Chris Alden, Dan Large and Ricardo Soares de Oliveira, "China Returns to Africa")
(Editing by Dean Yates)
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