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China-Africa commitments applauded

afrol News, 10 November - The head of the UN food agency has welcomed the declaration by the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation underlining the critical role that investment in food security, agriculture and infrastructure plays in feeding people on the continent.

The World Food Programme (WFP) Executive Director Josette Sheeran noted that for decades the agency has helped people in China and Africa access the food they need to live healthy, productive lives.

“We have helped farmers feed their families, while supporting them as they improve their land, dig wells, and build roads and clinics and schools,” Ms Sheeran said in her statement, applauding the pledges for further support made at the Forum, which wrapped up yesterday in the Egyptian Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh.

“In the midst of humanitarian emergencies, WFP has also rebuilt roads, ports and airstrips to reduce the cost of delivering humanitarian aid,” she said. “By strengthening infrastructure, WFP has helped to cut the cost of transporting people and goods over the long term.”

Ms Sheeran also noted that China’s own success in addressing malnutrition and bolstering food security stands as an example to the world that hunger can be beaten in a generation, especially when small farmers are given access to credit and markets.

“WFP is looking to replicate this success by supporting small farmers in regions like sub-Saharan Africa, where – last year – it purchased $427 million worth of food from farmers in 15 countries across the continent,” said Ms Sheeran.

China has reaffirmed its position to help Africa out as well as consolidated its committed as the continent’s trade and development partner.

During the Summit, Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao, pledged over $10bn in concessional loans over the next three years for the continent.

China has also pledged to look into supporting and financing more environmental projects in Africa, which will include the green and cleaner energy for the continent.

The two-day Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC), which began on Sunday in the Egyptian Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh, has since its modest start in year 2000 developed into one of the most important cooperation forums for African leaders, where rapid results and multi-billion deals can be reached.

China-African relations have boomed during this decade, with Beijing now being one of the lead players on the African continent. Direct Chinese investment in Africa leapt from US$ 491 million in 2003 to US$ 7.8 billion in 2008. Trade between the two parties has also increased tenfold since the start of the decade. Last year, China-Africa trade reached US$ 106.8 billion - a rise of 45 percent in one year and on par with the United States.

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