During the opening ceremony the Chinese President Hu Jintao said China would double aid to Africa by 2009, pledging US$3 billion in loans and $2 billion in export credits. A $5 billion fund will be established to encourage Chinese investment in Africa. Jintao also promised to cancel any debts owed by the poorest African countries.
Among the invited guests were Robert Mugabe and several controversial leaders who have been criticised for serious human rights abuses against their own people. The host country China is accused of protecting these figures on the global stage, flooding Africa with cheap products, destroying local businesses, and ignoring environmental standards. At the forum Chinese officials repeatedly said they were making major efforts to address all concerns. They also argued that China’s huge market was opening up to Africa and this would mean growth for African businesses. – SW Radio Africa
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