Xi Jinping wraps up Africa trip in Congo

Woman wearing T-shirt of China's Xi Jinping (right) and Congo's Denis Sassou Nguesso in Brazzaville, 29 March 2013 People wearing T-shirts showing images of Xi Jinping turned out to greet him

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Chinese President Xi Jinping signed a string of deals and pledged to bolster bilateral ties as he ended a trip to Africa in the Republic of Congo.

The deals include a river port in Oyo, Congolese President Denis Sassou Nguesso's hometown, and a sea port in Pointe-Noire that can export mineral ores shipments.

Congo is a major oil producer. China is already its biggest trading partner.

Before Congo, Mr Xi visited Tanzania and South Africa.

China has become one of Africa's major trading partners in recent years.

On Friday, Mr Xi said he wanted to raise ties with Congo "to a new and higher level".

"The future, the development of China will be an unprecedented opportunity for Africa, and Africa's development will be the same for my country," he told parliament in the capital, Brazzaville.

"We expect to work together with our African friends to seize upon historic opportunities and deepen cooperation ... in order to bring greater benefit to the Chinese and African peoples."

President Sassou Nguesso praised China, rejecting charges of neo-colonialism sometimes levelled against the Asian superpower.

During his week-long trip Mr Xi has sought to present China's relationship with Congo as a partnership of equals.

China and Congo have already launched projects worth several billion dollars, including a motorway between Brazzaville and the economic capital of Pointe-Noire.

Trade between China and Congo rose from $290m (£190m) in 2002 to $5bn last year, China's Xinhua news agency reported.

Though Congo is one of sub-Saharan Africa's top oil producers, some 70% of the country's 4.1 million people live in poverty.

China and Africa's growing trade relationship in figures

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