Chinese Premier Li Keqiang's upcoming visit to Africa is expected to raise the Asian giant's bilateral ties and cooperation with the continent to even greater heights, Vice Foreign Minister Zhang Ming said on Wednesday.
"I believe this visit will further consolidate the strategic trust between China and Africa, deepen their cooperation in all areas, and promote China-Africa relations and the relations between China and the African Union (AU) to a new high," said Zhang Ming at a press briefing.
Mr Li will pay official visits to Ethiopia, Nigeria, Angola and Kenya from May 4 to 11. This is the first time the premier has visited Africa since he took office in 2013 and coincides with the 50th anniversary of former Premier Zhou Enlai's first Africa visit.
Mr Zhang said Mr Li will hold talks and meet with leaders of the four countries, and the chairperson of the AU Commission, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma.
The two sides will sign nearly 60 deals, covering cooperation in such areas as trade, health, culture, agriculture and personnel training.
According to Mr Zhang, during his stay in Ethiopia, PM Li will attend the completion ceremony of a highway constructed by Chinese corporations, visit an industrial park and hold a seminar with businessmen from China and African countries.
Mr Li will visit the AU convention centre in Addis Ababa, constructed with China's assistance and deliver a speech there on China-Africa cooperation.
He will also attend the 2014 World Economic Forum on Africa to be held in Abuja, capital of Nigeria, and deliver a speech on China-Africa common development, China's promotion of Africa's inclusive development and international cooperation with Africa.
He will hold a seminar with Chinese companies and overseas Chinese during his stay in Angola.
The premier will also meet officials from the United Nations Environment Program and the United Nations Human Settlements Program, and discuss with them China's cooperation with the two UN organs during his visit in Kenya.
"China hopes the visit will inject new vitality into relations with Africa and bring the attention and input of the international community to Africa, to create a good external environment for development," Mr Zhang said.
China has been Africa's largest trade partner for five consecutive years and a major source of new investment, while Africa has been China's important import market and second largest market of overseas contract projects.
China's direct investment stock to Africa reached $25 billion by the end of 2013. There are more than 2,500 Chinese companies investing in Africa, according to the ministry. Assistant Minister of Commerce Zhang Xiangchen said the economic cooperation is a major part of Premier Li's upcoming visit.
Given the preparations of the African countries at the current stage, the outcomes of the visit will include governmental deals, cooperation projects between financial institutions and enterprises, regional projects and others, covering various fields, he said.
Mr Zhang said China will continue to encourage enterprises to expand business on areas of resource processing, agriculture, finance and service in Africa. China will also encourage enterprises to pay attention to environment and community development, he added.
"We believe that the visit will lift the economic cooperation between China and Africa to a new level," he said.