World Bank: China boosting African infrastructure

The World Bank said Thursday that China is funding hydropower projects and new railways in poor countries throughout Africa. Beijing, the bank said in a new report, is boosting the continent's desperately needed infrastructure as Africa provides energy-hungry China with oil and other resources. China is working on infrastructure finance deals with more than 35 African countries, the bank said, with Nigeria, Angola, Sudan and Ethiopia receiving about 70 percent of Chinese finance. Critics say China invests in countries without regard for allegations of human rights abuse. China buys two-thirds of Sudan's oil output, for example, and critics regularly urge Beijing to use its economic leverage to push Sudan's government more strongly to make peace in its troubled Darfur region. The bank said Africa and China economically complement each other. Resource-rich Africa has billions of dollars a year in infrastructure needs. China, desperate for oil to feed its fast-growing manufacturing economy, has a huge construction industry, the report said. China's imports of natural resources from Sub-Saharan Africa was $22 billion in 2006, with petroleum making up 80 percent of that number. The bank said that China depends on Africa for about 30 percent of its oil imports, although China's oil imports from Africa are small compared to the US