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China makes African intentions clear

13 March 2015, 18:01

Addis Ababa, March 13, 2015 (AFP) -China boosted its diplomatic presence in Africa on Friday, becoming only the second country after the United States to have a dedicated ambassador to the African Union.

"China needs to devote more attention and resources to Africa," said Kuang Weilin, Beijing's new ambassador to the Addis Ababa-based, 54-member pan-African bloc.

"For many years, China has mainly relied on bilateral cooperation. China wants to demonstrate to Africa and to the world that China is ready to do more with Africa," he said after presenting his credentials to AU Commission Chief Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma.

Prior to the appointment, China's representative to the AU also held the position of ambassador to Ethiopia, a set-up shared by most other countries -- although the new envoy said China wanted to "expand and strengthen our relationship with Africa".

The nomination underscores resource-rich Africa's importance to the world's second-largest economy -- as China's economic growth has been partially fuelled by African natural resources, including oil, minerals and other raw materials.

Zuma also said it "marks a very historic point in our relations with the People's Republic of China".

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