Merkel says EU can't leave Africa up to China alone


Sun, Nov 12, 2006 - Page 11

German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Friday said the EU would make African development a priority next year and not leave it up to China, which has just signed massive trade deals with the continent.

"We cannot leave this up to China alone," Merkel said on the sidelines of a defense forum, referring to 16 agreements worth US$1.9 billion Beijing inked with 10 African nations at a historic summit last weekend.

Merkel said after Berlin takes over the rotating presidency of the EU in January, it would lay the groundwork for a summit grouping African and European leaders.

The summit will however be staged during the second half of next year when Portugal holds the presidency of the bloc.

The conservative German chancellor said the EU would focus on African development and "a new partnership" with the continent and not merely hand out aid to poverty-stricken African countries.

"Our involvement must not amount to charity," she said.

Germany is also preparing to table a blueprint on African development at the G8 summit it will host in June in the eastern German resort of Heiligendamm.

Tycoon buys stake

Meanwhile, one of China's wealthiest tycoons has bought a US$800 million stake in Anglo-American, marking a landmark deal in China's pursuit of African resources, the Financial Times said yesterday.

CITIC Pacific chairman Larry Yung (榮智健), China's third richest man, also known as Rong Zhijian, bought 17 million shares from the Oppenheimer dynasty, Anglo-American's founding family, the newspaper said.