China Pledges Millions to Horn of Africa and Sri Lankan Port

Yesterday, China’s Premier Wen Jiabao promised to put $55.3 million towards food aid in African countries, as they suffer from one of their worst droughts in over a decade.

The offer was made during a meeting with Wen’s Ethiopian counterpart, Meles Zenawi, in Beijing, and the aid wilol be distributed throughout a number of countries in the Horn of Africa. The new donation comes in addition to the $14 million promised last month.

China has been keen on contributing to Africa recently, and China- Africa trade has climbed by 40% over one year, reaching $126.9 billion. Chinese companies have taken a particular interest in African mining, agriculture, construction and forestry.

China is also rapidly developing its trade ties with other countries as well, becoming more involved with India and South Asian countries such as Sri Lanka.

China Merchants Group LTD, one of the primary investment firms in the country, recently invested $500 million in a container port there.

“The Colombo South Container terminal is CMG’s largest investment project overseas,’ Fu Yuning of CMG said. He added that the port will have an annual throughput of 2.4 million 20-foot equivalent units once it is opened. An agreement states that China Merchants Holdings International will manage the facility for 35 years.

“We are aiming to expand business opportunities in South Asia and East Africa through the establishment of the new facility, which will anchor the port of Colombo’s position as a transshipment hub in South Asia,” said Hu Jianhua of CMHI. “We’re also targeting synergy between our home port and Sri Lanka and South Asia at large.”