Chain’s position as Africa’s largest trading partner growing: PM Hailemariam

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Addis Ababa, 6 May 2014 (WIC) – Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn said that Chain’s position as Africa’s largest trading partner is increasing significantly.  
PM Hailemarima made the remark here at a meeting of the Premier of the State Council of the People’s Republic of China Li Keqiang with the Permanent Representative of the AU at the Headquarters of the African Union (AU).
“The trade exchange between Africa and China is at a record high of more than US $ 210 billion last year, further consolidating China’s position as Africa’s largest trading partner,” he said.  
The premier further said that Chinese investment in Africa is increasing steadily in the manufacturing sector, which according to him has the potential of transforming Africa into a new manufacturing hub.
With regard to China- Africa relation, the premier said that “Sino-Africa relation has grown from strength to strength to the mutual benefit and satisfaction of both sides since the establishment of the China-Africa Cooperation Forum (FOCAC).
FOCAC is a platform established by China and friendly African countries for collective consultation and dialogue and as a cooperation mechanism among developing countries.
According to Hailemariam, the all round and practical cooperation that has been established within the framework of FOCAC has yielded remarkable results over the past decades.
“The implementation of the various commitments made in this (FOCAC) context has significantly boosted our relations in many parts and fields,” he said.
Hailemariam further said that China’s financial assistance to Africa through the provision of grants and loans has been contributing to bridge the infrastructural gap that had for long crippled Africa’s development 
“The highways, railways, dams, telephone and electricity networks, sea ports and airports as well as other related infrastructures that China has helped build in many of our countries is clearly making a tangible impact in accelerating economic growth in our continent,” he said.
Chinese Premier Li Keqiang on his part urged both sides (China and Africa) to raise their trade volume which stood at 210 billion US dollars in 2013 to 400 billion US dollars by 2020.    

Li added his country is ready to expand cooperation with Africa in building road, rail, telecommunications, and other infrastructure so as to help the continent realize regional interconnection.    
He said China has decided to increase its loans for African countries by 10 billion dollars, which brings the total pledged amount to 30 billion dollars, and to expand the China-Africa development fund by two billion dollars to five billion dollars.    
Chairperson of the AU Commission Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma on her part said Africa is ready to work with China not only in poverty reduction but also in modernization.