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Last Updated: Thursday, 27 April 2006, 16:05 GMT 17:05 UK
China's Hu urges more Africa ties
Hu Jintao flanked by an interpreter
Hu Jintao is keen to build trade ties in Africa
Chinese President Hu Jintao has called for greater co-operation between China and Africa, during a speech to the Nigerian National Assembly.

President Hu is now en route to Kenya, as part of a week-long tour of Africa - his second in three years.

On Wednesday, China secured four oil drilling licences from Nigeria in a deal involving $4bn in investment.

Nigeria, sub-Saharan Africa's top oil exporter, has long been viewed by China as a partner.

Addressing a joint session of the National Assembly in Abuja, President Hu said it was time for a new strategic partnership between China and Africa.

"Africa has rich resources and market potentials, whereas China has available effective practices and practical know-how it has gained in the course of modernisation," Mr Hu said.

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I believe China's engagement in Africa will harness mutual benefit: Africans will learn from their approach
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"China's development will not pose a threat to anyone. On the contrary, it will bring more development opportunities to the world," the Chinese president added.

Nigerian parliamentarians gave the Chinese president a standing ovation at the end of his speech.

The BBC's Alex Last in Abuja says the state visit is being seen as a success for both countries.

It is a rare honour in Nigeria for a foreign dignitary to address a joint session of the National Assembly, and this indicates how Nigeria values its relationship with one of the world's fastest growing economies, our correspondent adds.

Deal

The deal signed on Wednesday is one of seven co-operation agreements signed by Nigeria and China during the president's visit.

China will buy a controlling stake in Nigeria's 110,000 barrel-a-day Kaduna oil refinery and build a railway system and power stations.

The African nation will offer first right of refusal to China National Petroleum for a quartet of exploration blocks during a licensing round due to be held in Nigeria on 19 May.

The blocks comprise two areas in the oil-producing Niger Delta - one onshore and one in shallow water - and two areas in the higher-risk inland Chad basin, where no oil is produced at present.

Last week Chinese state oil firm CNOOC said it had completed a $2.3bn deal to buy a stake in a Nigerian oil field.

Several Chinese companies have already constructed factories in Nigeria and more are planned for a free trade zone in the south-east of the country.

President Hu, who previously visited Nigeria in 2004, started his African trip in Morocco where he signed a number of trade deals with King Mohammed VI.

The visit comes in the wake of a series of others to Africa by Chinese ministers and officials.


SEE ALSO:
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06 Jan 06 |  Business
China's growing focus on Africa
17 Jan 06 |  Africa
Ask an African business expert
09 Feb 06 |  Africa


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