March 25 - China has boosted its trade ties with Africa ahead of this week's BRICS summit, signing a raft of new deals with Tanzania as competion hots up for the continent's mineral wealth and oil reserves. Ivor Bennett reports.
TV AND WEB RESTRICTIONS~*NONE**~ Less than 2 weeks into his presidency, China's new leader is making no secret of his priorities. Tanzania was the next stop on Xi Jinping's first overseas trip, underlining Africa's importance to the world's second biggest economy. China's already the continent's biggest trading partner - with 200 million dollars worth of deals struck last year. First on the agenda for this trip was to sign up to more. 16 deals were agreed in total - the kind of investment many credit for Africa's rise. Rich management CEO Aly Khan Satchu. (SOUNDBITE) (English) ALY KHAN SATCHU, CEO, RICH MANAGEMENT, SAYING: "We are growing much faster in the last 10 years, and we wouldn't be without China, a lot of our infrastructure is being built, it wasn't being built before, they came here and built it, so that's another good thing and I think this is a win-win relationship. I am looking forward to the next 10 years, I think it will only get better." 2000 Chinese companies now operate in over 50 countries across Africa - a continent with much to offer. Diamonds are just some the mineral wealth at stake; and there are vast, largely untapped oil reserves. The continent's also a lucrative new marketplace. According to the IMF, 7 of the top 10 fastest growing economies will be sub-Saharan by 2015. But competition for the resources is hotting up. The South African port of Durban is set to host the latest BRICS summit - as the world's other major emerging economies eye up Africa's riches. Despite plans for a new development bank, there are concerns the relationship will be all take and no give. Financial analyst Bismarke Rewane. (SOUNDBITE) (English) FINANCIAL ANALYST, BISMARK REWANE SAYING: "Even when they invest in capital goods and major projects, they do not even transfer technology and know-how, they bring it and use Chinese labour and all that so that is required to change." That exclusive staffing policy has even provoked riots by locals looking for work. The Chinese President addressed the concerns by promising a relationship of equals through more training and scholarships. While some may not buy it, on the streets of Tanzania at least, Chinese aid is being welcomed with open arms.