China grants new credit to Angola during visit by Prime Minister Wen Jiabao

21 June 2006

Luanda, Angola, 21 June – The governments of Angola and China Tuesday signed a memorandum of understanding for the Beijing authorities to grant “additional credit” to finance reconstruction and modernization projects in Angola, officials said.

The amount of funding granted was not disclosed, but a source close to the process said that it would be substantially larger than the credit agreed in March 2004 between the Angolan government and China’s Eximbank, which totalled US$2 billion.

The amount of funding made available by China is, however, much higher, as it involves the main construction projects underway in the country, such as the construction of the new Luanda International Airport and refurbishment of the Luanda, Benguela and Namibe railroads and Angola’s main roads.

The memorandum of understanding for the additional credit was signed Wednesday as part of Chinese Prime Minister Wen Jiabao’s visit to the Angolan capital. The authorities from both countries also signed an economic and technical cooperation agreement, an extradition treaty and a memorandum of understanding to send a Chinese medical team to Angola.

The two governments also agreed to jointly set up an International Relations Institute.

Wen also took part in the opening session of official talks between delegations from both countries and visited the Luanda General Hospital, which was built using Chinese funds.

The Chinese prime minister said that China had supported the reconstruction of Angola by financing “the construction of a number of developments of a social nature,” and recognized that “many Chinese companies are investing and setting up factories in Angola, taking part in the social and economic construction of the country.”

“We are available to provide support to Angola, to encourage more companies to invest in this country and increase the interchange and cooperation in culture, education, health and other social sectors to support reconstruction and development programs in the country,” he said.

“China needs natural resources and Angola wants to develop,” Angola’s president, José Eduardo dos Santos said, adding that the two countries “can establish constructive cooperation in strategic areas to make good on their expectations and ambitions relating to economic and social development.”

Figures published in February by the Angolan ambassador to Beijing showed that bilateral trade between Angola and China in 2005 totaled US$4.2 billion, which made Angola China’s second largest trading partner in Africa, after South Africa. (macauhub)

MACAUHUB FRENCH