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Last Updated: Monday, 19 June 2006, 10:47 GMT 11:47 UK
Chinese PM announces Ghana loan
Chinese Prime Minister Wen Jiabao (left) with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak
China has been cultivating ties in Africa for decades
Chinese Prime Minister Wen Jiabao has said his country will lend Ghana about $66m to fund development projects.

Plans include upgrading Ghana's communications network and improving access to the internet.

The move was announced in Accra after Mr Wen, who is touring Africa to promote economic links, met Ghanaian President John Kufuor.

Later on Monday, Mr Wen is to go to Brazzaville, where he is expected to discuss oil with Congolese officials.

"We're waiting for a friend with whom we're going to discuss the necessity of reinforcing our co-operation and defining some perspectives on our shared future," Congolese Foreign Minister Rodolphe Adada said, according AP news agency.

Oil

Congo has oil reserves in the Gulf of Guinea, an area being eyed with interest by China as its economic boom increases demand for energy.

Angola, another important oil producer, is also on Mr Wen's itinerary. He is also due to visit South Africa, Tanzania and Uganda.

Mr Wen is the third high-ranking Chinese official to visit Africa this year.

Observers say this underlines the strategic importance of Africa in Beijing's efforts to acquire energy and raw materials for its booming economy.

Last year, trade between China and Africa rose to $40bn (22bn).


SEE ALSO
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06 Jan 06 |  Business
China's growing focus on Africa
17 Jan 06 |  Africa

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