China is discussing a huge tobacco investment in the African
nation of Malawi. This became known after the recent visit of Chinese
Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi to the country, and according to Chinese
Ambassador Lin Songtian.
While in Malawi during what has become China's traditional New Year tour of Africa, Yang Jiechi said Beijing will not abandon Africa, despite the global recession.
Yang's visit, which created the platform for business talks between the two countries opened-up opportunity for China to woo Malawian Tobacco Farmers into deals with China. Chinese Ambassador Lin Songtian said Chinese businessmen who accompanied Yang discussed buying Malawi tobacco for what he says are 350 million Chinese smokers.
According to Malawi's Tobacco Control Commission General Manager Godfrey Chapola, Malawi needs to "look east" because of growing Western anti-smoking sentiment. During the visit, Yang signed an agreement to build a $90 million hotel conference center in the capital, Lilongwe. China is also building a Parliament house and a highway linking northern Malawi to Zambia.