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China refutes `land grab` charges in Africa

China said that "there is indeed neo-colonialism in Africa, but absolutely not from China".

Updated: Dec 08, 2011, 18:30 PM IST

Beijing: Refuting charges that it has been buying up land in Africa, China has called for "concrete" efforts to enable the continent`s agricultural sector develop in a sustainable way.

"China always seeks food self-sufficiency through its own domestic output," Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Hong Lei was quoted by Xinhua as saying during a regular press briefing Thursday.

China, instead of grabbing land in Africa, has been providing as much technical assistance as it can to help develop agriculture there and enhance the continent`s capability of using its natural resources and addressing issues such as climate change and food security, he said.

"Those efforts are welcomed by the African nations," he added.

Replying to a question on neo-colonialism, Hong said that "there is indeed neo-colonialism in Africa, but absolutely not from China".

He, however, did not explain which countries were the neo-colonialists.

"African countries have widely reached a consensus on this issue," Hong said, quoting South African President Jacob Zuma who had said that describing China`s engagement with Africa as "neo-colonialism" was untruthful.

"As an important strategic partner, China has made great contributions to the economic development and the betterment of people`s livelihood in South Africa," said Hong.

"Africa is victim to agricultural neo-colonialism," Hong said, adding that it is the common obligation of the international community to promote the sustainable development of Africa`s agricultural sector.

Some Chinese enterprises are carrying out small-scale cooperation through internationally-accepted business models with their partners in Africa, and sell their products to meet local demand, he said.