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Boost brings record African involvement

2009. 15 May

By Yang Jian
( The largest number of African countries ever will be participating in the Shanghai World Expo thanks to US$100 million in financial assistance from the Chinese government.

A senior Expo organizer told a press conference yesterday the funds will help 50 of the 53 African countries attend the Expo.

Most of the African participants have received the assistance and 20 percent of them will make their Expo debut at the 2010 event, said Chen Jintian, director of the Joint-Africa Pavilion Management Department of the Expo bureau.

He declined to say how much countries have received, but said the assistance would be "enough for the exhibitions and operations" at Expo.

Countries defined by the United Nations as having a low or middle-income, with a per-capita gross national income below US$3,255, would be eligible for financial assistance for Expo, China promised in its bidding proposal in 2002.

Each country will receive an average US$650,000 assistance, Hua Junduo, China's commissioner general for the Expo, said.

Chen was talking as construction began yesterday on the fa?ade of the Joint-Africa Pavilion, where 42 countries and the African Union will present their understanding of the "Better City, Better Life" Expo theme. Another eight countries, including South Africa, Egypt and Nigeria, will rent pavilions from the organizer.

The fa?ade of the 26,000-square-meter cube structure will have a peach red background within the shadow of a sponge tree and plants and animals typical of the continent.

The sponge tree is an African plant which symbolizes the origin of human life, Chen said. He said the design had been approved by all the participants.

The pavilion's metal framework has been finished and is 227 meters long and 107 meters wide. It is as big as three and a half football fields and is the largest of all the 11 joint pavilions at the Expo.

The pavilion is on the Huangpu River and near one of the Expo sites' main entrances.

Chen said it was one of the best locations for pavilions and was especially chosen by the organizer.

Each participant will have 250-square-meter exhibition area. The organizer will erect a stage in the pavilion for performances.

The construction will be finished in September.

Source: (