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World Briefing / Senegal

$90-million deal with China

February 15, 2009|Times Wire Reports

China's president toured the site of a new Chinese-financed national theater in Senegal after signing an agreement promising the West African nation more than $90 million in gifts and loans.

President Hu Jintao's visit is part of an African tour that includes Mali, Tanzania and the island of Mauritius -- nations that are neither oil producers nor resource-rich. The trip appears to be aimed at fending off criticism that China is interested only in Africa's natural riches.

China has invested heavily in African nations, building parliaments, stadiums, bridges and roads. But critics say the hastily built infrastructure is little more than a bribe for access to natural resources and the bountiful coastline.

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