Foreign and Military Affairs

'No hidden strings tied to aid'

Updated: 2011-04-27 07:56

By Bao Chang and Ding Qingfen (China Daily)

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BEIJING - China will endeavor to "enlarge the scale" of its foreign aid, especially to the least-developed countries of Africa and Latin America, in an attempt to improve local people's well-being, said Fu Ziying, the vice-minister of commerce, on Tuesday.

'No hidden strings tied to aid'

A patient shakes hands with Chinese ophthalmology expert Liu Hua who had helped treat him at a hospital in Sanaa, the capital of Yemen, in January as Zhang Mao (center), China's vice-minister of health, looks on. An ophthalmology center funded by China opened at the hospital on the same day. Yin Ke / Xinhua

China's long-term foreign aid to African nations is not being given in "exchange for natural resources" but out of a sense of "real friendship", he added.

Related: African countries 'seek more investment for development'

Fu made the remarks during a press conference about China's foreign aid strategy a few days after Beijing issued a white paper offering an overall picture of its foreign aid activities during recent decades.

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"China will appropriately increase spending on foreign aid to the poor countries that are heavily in debt, the least-developed nations and small island countries," said Fu.

Meanwhile, China will try to transform its mode of foreign aid development, improve quality and enhance sustainability.

Between 2004 and 2009, China's foreign aid grew at an annual rate of 29.4 percent, and the total value of foreign aid had reached 256.3 billion yuan ($39.3 billion) by the end of 2009.

China is still a developing nation but is "very willing to give others a helping hand, partly because China expects to provide whatever we can to those in need and partly because China's peaceful economic development and globalization requires a peaceful environment in neighboring countries," said Fu.

'No hidden strings tied to aid'
According to the white paper, China has helped 161 countries, including 123 regular recipients, and more than 30 international and regional organizations. Its foreign aid mainly goes to Asia, Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean. Asia and Africa, areas with large numbers of poor people, have accepted about 80 percent of China's aid.

Some Western nations have suggested that China has been offering significant amounts of aid to Africa because it wants to grab the continent's natural resources. Fu said that is not what is happening.

"Africa is a priority in China's foreign aid strategy but we are doing it out of friendship. China has a lot of foreign aid projects in African nations that have few natural resources, such as Mali," he said. "Opinions in the media from some countries are nothing but nonsense."

'No hidden strings tied to aid'

During the next five years, most of China's foreign aid projects will be involved in the "infrastructural, agricultural and educational fields", which are crucial to the recipient countries' quality of life and economic development, he explained.

According to the ministry, China has funded more than 200 agricultural projects worldwide that have helped promote grain production in countries that have land resources but that lack growing expertise.

Within the next five years, China plans to set up 30 farm technology demonstration centers in developing countries, send 3,000 technicians overseas and offer agricultural training to 5,000 people from poor countries.


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