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Thursday, July 16, 2009

China to launch $1bn Africa fund

China has announced plans to launch a $1bn (£500m) fund to increase trade and investment in Africa.

The fund, backed by the Chinese Development Bank and aimed at farming, infrastructure and basic industries, will eventually rise to $5bn.

Chinese President Hu Jintao set out plans for more trade in Africa at a key African-Chinese trade summit last year.

But China's foray into Africa - notably for natural resources - has prompted accusations of modern day colonialism.

Development organisations have attacked China for ignoring alleged human rights abuses - especially in oil-rich regions such as Sudan - simply to secure resources.

A Chinese official attending a conference on Darfur underway this week in Paris opposed the idea of sanctions on Sudan, and criticised suggestions of a boycott of the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

Following the fund announcement Gao Jian, the vice governor of the Chinese Development Bank (CDB), rejected the notion that China simply wanted to secure natural resources but said the country was instead making investments that would help Africa.

China says it will "support Chinese enterprises in developing cooperation with Africa and in investing in Africa".

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