Nairobi: China has become one of the most important partners of Africa, an official from the African Union (AU) said here on Monday. John Shinkaiye, AU Commission Chief of staff Ambassador, said China has a keen interest in Africa's all-round development.

“Africa-China engagement has been one of mutual results.  China has assisted Africa with her development enterprise without demanding that Africa must become china or imitate China,” Shinkaiye said.

He made the remarks during the opening ceremony of the First China-Africa people's forum that brought together NGOs from Africa and China.

The meeting is aimed at fostering people to people contact between the two sides. The AU is set to officially open the Chinese-government-built AU Commission headquarters in its next assembly session in January next year, he added.

Kenya's Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka said: “This forum of civil society actors from the two vast continents is an indication that China is committed to building deep and lasting links with the people of Africa.”