SUDAN WATCH: China can pressure Africa to reform - UK minister

Friday, November 10, 2006

China can pressure Africa to reform - UK minister

Nov 10 2006 Dow Jones report via ST - excerpt:
African countries will benefit from Chinese investment if China acts as a responsible world player by pressuring governments there to reform, U.K. Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State David Triesman told Dow Jones Newswires Thursday in an interview.

The Group of Eight's African aid efforts, agreed upon last year at its Gleneagles summit in Scotland, have helped to improve the continent "on balance," said Triesman, the Foreign & Commonwealth Office's minister for Africa. But some nations such as Sudan and Zimbabwe, despite drawing Chinese investment in their rich natural resources, have significantly regressed, he said.

China's diplomacy in Africa is "an incredibly private process," Triesman said, but he added that increasing pressure for reforms would have practical benefits even from a purely business perspective.

"They've tended to say, 'We've come along with investment and without any ideological baggage," Triesman said. But by promoting good governance and the rule of law, he added, China would increase the overall security of African countries "and improve the return on investment."

The minister's remarks follow the unprecedented Forum on China-Africa Cooperation summit last week in China, where the Chinese government and representatives from 48 African countries signed deals worth $1.9 billion.

In a declaration read at the end of the forum, participants pledged a partnership based on "political equality and mutual trust, economic win-win cooperation and cultural exchanges."


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