China Raises Profile in Africa

UN peacekeepers, volunteers, economic efforts reflect Beijing's new commitment
By Colleen Barry,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 27, 2007 9:28 AM CDT
In this photo released by China's Xinhua News Agency, Liu Guijin , second right, Chinese special representative for African affairs, shakes hands with a local man at a market in al-Fashir, Sudan Tuesday,...   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – China is increasing the number of UN peackekeepers it sends to Africa and raising its profile on the continent, creating a kind of "peace corps" to address problems from job shortages to health care, the Christian Science Monitor reports. China, itself a developing nation, appears determined to both do good and do well in large and small ways.

Since 2000 China has canceled more than $10 billion in debt for 31 African countries and has given $5.5 billion in aid; as a lender, it tops the World Bank. And it's dispatching volunteers to build roads and clinics and to help staff after-school programs. The nation "is desperate to be seen as a benign force," said one economist.