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China-Africa cooperation should focus on infrastructure: AU

Infrastructure development is one of the areas on which cooperation between China and Africa should focus, says Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, chairperson of the African Union (AU).

She told Chinese state-run news agency Xinhua that the Sino-African relationship is already entering “a different dimension”, particularly in infrastructure development.

Her comments came after China and the 54-nation AU bloc signed a memorandum of understanding on January 27 to facilitate development of high-speed railways, aviation and road highways in Africa.

“China’s contribution to infrastructure construction across the African continent is obvious,” Xinhua quoted Elham Mahmoud Ibrahim, AU commissioner for Infrastructure and Energy, as saying.

The Sino-African cooperation in this field is a “win-win deal” for both sides, added Ms Ibrahim, noting that the continent can develop its infrastructure while Chinese firms involved in the construction can in turn have more business.

According to figures from the Chinese Ministry of Commerce, China pledged US$70.8 billion for new infrastructure projects in Africa in the first 11 months of 2014, up by 33 percent from the prior-year period.