China paying ‘close attention’ to Africa famine

China said on Friday it was paying “close attention” to a disastrous famine in the Horn of Africa after top US House Democrat Nancy Pelosi urged it to do more.

The Chinese foreign ministry said it had supplied 90-million yuan ($14-million) worth of food aid in response to the crisis, described by the United Nations as the worst to hit Africa since a 1991/92 famine in Somalia.

“The central government pays close attention to the large-scale famine caused by a devastating drought in the Horn of Africa and expresses sympathy to people in stricken areas,” a ministry statement said.

Pelosi on Thursday urged China and Saudi Arabia to “step up their efforts” to relieve the famine in the Horn of Africa, where the United Nations says 12-million people are in danger of starvation.

The United Nations estimates that $2.4-billion is required to address the crisis, which has hit Somalia worst due to a relentless conflict and aid restrictions by al-Shebab rebels in areas under their control.

The prolonged drought has also affected parts of Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya and Uganda.

Aggravating the drought
China has continued to pour money into Africa despite criticism from Western states of Beijing’s support for the hardline regimes of leaders such as Sudan’s Omar al-Bashir and Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe.

China-Africa trade soared more than 40% last year to $126.9-billion and Chinese companies invested heavily in mining, agriculture, forestry and construction industries throughout the continent.

Germany’s Africa policy coordinator in July accused China of “large-scale land purchases” in the Horn of Africa which had exacerbated the drought — charges Beijing strongly denied.

Guenter Nooke told the daily Frankfurter Rundschau that Chinese investments were focused on farming for export which he said can lead to “major social conflicts in Africa when small farmers have their land and thus their livelihoods taken away”.

But China said the claim was “completely unfounded” and that its efforts to set up 10 agricultural demonstration centres in Africa and dispatch nearly 1 000 experts and technical staff had been “warmly welcomed”. — AFP


State capture commission granted a 13-month extension

Judge Wendy Hughes says this is the final extension because finality is "owed to the nation"

DA’s Moodey joins leadership race

The head of the Democratic Alliance in Gauteng says he wants to take his experience to the national level

Press Releases

Achieving the litmus test of social relevance

The HSS Awards honours scholarly works based on their social relevance and contribution to the humanities and social sciences

Response to the report of the independent assessors

VUT welcomes the publishing of the report of the independent assessors to investigate concerns of poor governance, leadership, management, corruption and fraud at the university.

NWU student receives international award

Carol-Mari Schulz received the Bachelor of Health Sciences in Occupational Hygiene Top Achiever Award.

Academic programme resumes at all campuses

Lectures, practicals, seminars and tutorials will all resume today as per specific academic timetables.

Strategic social investments are a catalyst for social progress

Barloworld Mbewu enables beneficiaries to move away from dependence on grant funding

We all have a part to play to make South Africa work

Powering societal progress demands partnerships between all stakeholders

So you want to be a social entrepreneur?

Do the research first; it will save money and time later

Social entrepreneurship means business

Enterprises with a cause at their core might be exactly what our economy desperately needs