Chinese businesses are set to extend their reach even more deeply into Africa following the announcement of trade deals worth US$1.9 billion yesterday.
The contracts are part of ambitious plans unveiled by Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao (溫家寶) on Saturday, the first day of the China-Africa summit, for the two sides to double their trade to US$100 billion in four years.
The 16 contracts announced yesterday covered cooperation in natural resources, infrastructure, finance, technology, textiles and communications, said Wan Jifei (萬季飛), chairman of the China Council for the Promotion of International Trade.
The deals, with 10 African countries, came at the end of a trade conference attended by 1,500 Chinese and African businessmen that was held alongside the two-day summit of national leaders.
By far the biggest deal was one worth US$938 million for China's state-owned CITIC conglomerate to set up an aluminum plant in Egypt, according to a copy of the agreement given to reporters.
Chinese firms also clinched a US$300 million deal to renovate a highway in Nigeria, signed a contract to build a telephone line in Ghana at a cost of US$30 million and agreed to set up a US$60 million textile business in Sudan.
A new copper project worth US$200 million in Zambia was also announced, along with plans to build a US$55 million cement factory in Cape Verde and a mining contract worth US$230 million with South Africa.
There were no deals announced in the oil or gas sectors, which are among the most significant spheres of economic cooperation linking China and Africa. However, by the start of this year, China already had investments in 27 major oil and gas projects in 14 African countries, according to official Chinese figures, and in recent months has taken further stakes in nations such as Kenya, Angola and Nigeria.
The two-day summit brought together leaders from China and 48 African nations and was described by Beijing as its biggest and most important international gathering since the founding of the communist regime in 1949.