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African Leader Cautions India, China on Terms of Strategic Partnership

A key African leader wants to see China and India, Africa's significant new Asian trading partners, make real investments, and not behave in the manner of the colonialists who exploited the continent for centuries.

African Union Commission Chairman Alpha Oumar Konare says Africa's new strategic partnerships with China and India will have to go beyond the traditional colonial model.

Speaking at the United Nations University in Tokyo Monday, Konare said resource-hungry economies that desire to extract the continent's resources will have to commit themselves to real investment that benefits Africa.

The former president of Mali says long-term infrastructure programs funded by Asian and other nations are necessary to bring added value to Africa, and to create middle-class jobs.

China-Africa trade has expanded rapidly, and now surpasses $40 billion annually. Africa's trade with India, while also rising significantly, is currently estimated at only one-fourth of that.

The AU chairman said he believes that integration into a "United States of Africa" is the formula for the continent's future success. Mr. Konare said some of Africa's nations are failures - too small, too weak and too inexperienced to handle the key tasks of government effectively.

He says these deeply indebted states feel their sovereignty is threatened because they cannot even draft budgets without the consent of international financial institutions. The way to escape this dependency, he says, is for African countries to show solidarity, and present a united front to the world.

Mr. Konare says an African Union commission is to report in January on how to achieve African integration, and he hopes the states will clearly move toward the goal of a united Africa after that.

The AU leader is to meet Tuesday with Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi, to discuss the situation in Sudan's troubled Darfur region. Japan is a major donor to African countries.