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.
First Published: Thursday, December 08, 2011, 18:30