BEIJING, October 31, 2007-- Today the United Kingdom UK Department for International Development (DFID) and the World Bank signed a Memorandum of Understanding on a partnership to promote China-Africa cooperation. "DFID has been a keen supporter of China-Africa exchange, among others through the China-Africa business council, and this partnership with the World Bank is a further means to promote this cooperation" said Nemat Shafik, Director General Country Programs of DFID, who is on a visit to China.
China has a long-standing cooperation with African nations dating back to the 1950s. This decade saw a sharp increase in trade, investment and aid ties, culminating in last year’s China-Africa Summit in Beijing. Bilateral trade and Chinese Foreign Direct Investment in Africa have both four-folded between 2001 and 2005, China has pledged substantial increases in aid to African nations and has granted debt relief as well as tariff-free access to its rapidly growing market to several least developed countries in Africa. "China's growing economic cooperation with African nations is a great opportunity for both sides," said David Dollar, Country Director for China of the World Bank. "And this World Bank partnership with DFID is a modest way to further promote this cooperation." The World Bank recently signed an MOU with China EXIM Bank under which the two institutions are exchanging information on project evaluation procedures as well as exploring opportunities for cooperation on development projects in other countries.
The partnership aims to support studies, technical advice and knowledge exchange among Chinese authorities and those from nations on the African continent. Specific activities under the MOU include: (a) promotion of knowledge sharing between authorities in China and Africa on project design and implementation in sectors where China has been particularly successful; (b) studies on issues related to aid effectiveness; (c) provision of technical advice to Government Agencies in China concerning methods and standards of project appraisal, safeguards, and sustainability assessment; and (d) studies on the impact of China's economic cooperation with countries in the African continent. Some have raised concerns about the growing involvement of China in Africa, and information on the size and impact of the growing relationship is scarce. According to Ms. Shafik, "The activities under the Partnership should result in better understanding of the growing China-Africa relationship as well as in increased development impact of the relationship."