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Chinese Premier Offers $38 Million Loan Package to Ghana


China has agreed to lend Ghana $38 million to help the west African country upgrade its telecommunication network and finance other projects.

Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao offered the low-interest loan package Sunday during talks with Ghana's President John Kufuor in the Ghanaian capital, Accra.

The money will be used to boost Ghana's communications infrastructure by increasing the number of phone lines and improving Internet access. The loans will also finance medical programs in Ghana using Chinese expertise.

Chinese state media say trade with Ghana has increased from 76 million dollars in 1995 to $760 million last year.

The Chinese premier is visiting Ghana on the second leg of an African tour, which is primarily aimed at expanding energy resources for China's fast-growing economy. He travels to the Republic of Congo Monday.

Mr. Wen began his African tour Saturday in Egypt, where he and Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak signed several agreements (on trade, energy and communications), and marked the 50-year anniversary of diplomatic relations between their countries.

After visiting the Republic of Congo, Mr. Wen will make stops in South Africa, Angola, Uganda and Tanzania.

Mr. Wen says China places a high value on developing economic and trade ties with Africa, but says Beijing's diplomacy does not threaten the strategic interests of any other country, including the United States.

Mr. Wen is the third senior Chinese official to visit Africa in the past six months.

Some information for this report was provided by AP.
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