Page last updated at 14:59 GMT, Sunday, 15 February 2009

China's Hu grants aid to Tanzania

Hu Jintao (centre) and Tanzanian President Jakaya Kikwete inspect a guard of honour in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania - 15/2/2009
Mr Hu praised China's ties with Tanzania as "exemplary"

China's President Hu Jintao has granted $22m (15m) in aid to Tanzania as he continues his tour of Africa.

Tanzania is one of the largest African recipients of Chinese aid and bilateral trade rose by nearly 50% in 2007.

Mr Hu has visited Mali and Senegal and will end his tour in Mauritius. China's trade with Africa has boomed in recent years but has stalled recently.

China wants to show that it is not only interested in Africa because of its oil and mineral wealth, say analysts.

'Exemplary ties'

After witnessing the signing of a number of aid deals with Tanzanian President Jakaya Kikwete, President HU praised their two countries' relationship.

"The traditional friendship between China and Tanzania... can be viewed as an exemplary relationship of sincerity, solidarity and co-operation between China and an African country, and for that matter between two developing countries," Mr Hu said.

Mr Hu was also to officially open a 60,000-seat sports stadium, built at a cost of $56m financed mostly by the Chinese government.

Chinese and Senegalese workers - 14/2/2009
Many Chinese companies are involved in building projects in Africa

On his fourth visit to Africa, President Hu has stayed away from the resource-rich nations that China has previously courted.

China is getting oil from Angola and Sudan, and minerals from Zambia, Congo and many others.

But Chinese companies are also heavily involved in infrastructure projects in Africa, some with aid from the Chinese government.

In Senegal on Saturday Mr Hu signed aid and loan deals worth $90m and he laid the first brick of a "Friendship Bridge" that he called China's largest gift to West Africa.

And in Mali, the Chinese have paid for the presidential palace and are building a hospital and a bridge in the capital, Bamako.

Mauritius is also looking forward to receiving Chinese investment for infrastructure projects intended to boost the Indian Ocean nation's economy.

Before arriving in Africa, Mr Hu stopped in Saudi Arabia where oil topped the agenda.

The Chinese leadership hopes to improve its image abroad as a responsible country, especially as Africa is suffering from a decline in aid and investment due to the global economic slowdown, says the BBC's China analyst Shirong Chen.

Prime Minister Wen Jiabao has already pledged that China will not cut aid to Africa or backtrack its promise to waive debts owned by more than 30 poor African countries.

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