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China provides Togo 12 million dollars in loans, grants

by Staff Writers
Lome (AFP) Nov 10, 2010
China is to extend to the west African country of Togo a loan and grant amounting to nearly 12 million dollars for agriculture and infrastructure, the government said on Wednesday.

The agreements for an 8.6-million-dollar grant and a 3.2-million-dollar interest-free loan were inked on Tuesday.

"These grants will enable Togo to carry out important and strategic operations, particularly in the sectors of agriculture and infrastructure," Dede Ahouefa Ekoue, minister of planning and development, said on state television.

Economic growth in the small country bordered by Ghana and Benin is projected to rise modestly to three percent this year from 2.5 percent last year.

After a 14-year hiatus, the European Union was the first to resume aid to Togo, followed by China and then the Bretton Woods institutions after significant progress was noted in political reforms.

In 1993, after decades of authoritarian rule under dictator Gnassingbe Eyadema, international donors suspended financial aid to the former French colony, saying it would be resumed only after genuine democracy was in place.

earlier related report
Guinea-Bissau opens Chinese-funded government HQ
Bissau (AFP) Nov 10, 2010 - Guinea-Bissau's President Malam Bacai Sanha on Wednesday inaugurated his government's new 25-million-dollar headquarters, entirely built with Chinese funding.

The building, situated in the north of the capital Bissau, took 18 months to build and consists of three large blocks that can accommodate 12 ministries.

It is "a symbol of the fruitful cooperation long held with China who we thank from the bottom of our hearts," said Sanha at the inauguration.

At Sanha's side was the Chinese ambassador to Guinea-Bissau, Li Bao Jun.

"It is the fruit of frank and enduring cooperation," said Li.

China has already played a hand in other projects in Bissau including the National Assembly, built in 2000 for six million dollars, a military hospital with 200 beds that cost 12 million dollars, as well as a 25,000-seat stadium.

Beijing has also financed renovation work on barracks, hospitals and has invested in the west African country's agriculture sector.

China is interested in offshore oil exploration and the vast forest and fishing wealth of Guinea-Bissau.

But the country has been chronically unstable since independence from Portugal in 1974 with coups, army mutinies and political murders. It has also in recent years been turned into a drug trafficking hub by South American barons targetting European markets.

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France seeks Turkey as trade ally in Africa
Paris (AFP) Nov 9, 2010
France said Tuesday it was seeking to team up with Turkey for joint European trade missions in Africa to counter the growing power of China in winning contracts there. "I have proposed to our Turkish friends to run joint missions by Turkey and France, Turkey and Britain, in Africa where competition is such that it is often the Chinese who win the contracts," Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner ... read more

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