ADDIS ABABA – The Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) was significant in enhancing the multifaceted cooperation between Africa and China, Tanzania's Foreign Minister Bernard Membe said.
Membe, who told Xinhua in an interview ahead of the July 19-20 fifth FOCAC ministerial conference in Beijing, said the forum played a significant role in bolstering cooperation in infrastructure, agriculture, health and education.
Africa was happy that China had engaged with any country that had sought cooperation, and that it had invested in all major economic sectors, the minister said.
He said China also supported development in Africa by providing soft loans and grants for construction, infrastructure, agriculture, education and health projects.
Most African countries depended greatly on the Chinese loans, which had terms as long as 30 years, he said, adding "this is an attraction to most African business communities or investors or governments."
The Chinese had proved to be true friends of Africans by investing in Africa and keeping the relationship with Africa regardless of the difficult circumstances and the challenges Africa faced, he said.
"China is the greatest ally of the continent of Africa," he said. No matter whether a country was devastated by civil war, drought, floods or disease, the Chinese would be there, the minister said.
Speaking on behalf of his own country, Membe said Tanzania enjoyed the close ties it had with China.
The Tanzania-Zambia railway and the Julius Nyerere Conference Center, both built by the Chinese, were the fruits of the excellent relations between the two countries, he said.
The win-win relationship of the two countries was demonstrated by the strong trade and business increases seen in recent years, Membe said.
In response to this welcoming trend, his country would open another office in China's southern city of Guangzhou "to make sure the relationship and the trade volume expand," the minister said.