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Chinese Premier Begins Africa Tour

Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao travels to Africa Saturday for weeklong tour expected to focus on shoring up energy and mineral resources for his nation's booming economy.

China's official Xinhua news agency says Mr. Wen will visit Egypt, Ghana, the Republic of Congo, Angola, South Africa, Tanzania and Uganda.

The premier is accompanied by a delegation that includes Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing and Trade Minister Bo Xilai.

Xinhua says during his trip Mr. Wen is expected to sign a number of agreements in areas of politics, economy and trade, culture, and science and technology.

Trade between China and Africa reached around $40 billion in 2005, almost four times the amount posted in 2000.

Critics have accused China of exploiting African countries for their oil reserves and ignoring human rights in countries such as Sudan and Angola.

China's foreign ministry has said Beijing's relations with African countries are mutually beneficial and further the continent's development.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP.