Glossary: China in Africa

African Growth and Opportunity Act was approved by the United States Congress in 2000 to assist the economies of sub-Saharan Africa and to improve economic relations between the United States and the region.  The legislation authorized the President of the United States to determine which sub-Saharan African countries would be eligible for U.S. economic assistance on an annual basis.

African Union Established on July 9, 2002, the African Union is the successor to the Organization of African Unity.  The body is comprised of 54 African states and is headquartered in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

Commercial loans are loans advanced to a business instead of to a consumer. Typically short-term, theses loans are often advanced for financing equipment, machinery, or inventory.

Infrastructure projects are development projects primarily focused on building basic physical and organizational structures, services or facilities needed for the operation of a society or an economy to function.

Human Rights Council is a governmental body within the United Nations.  The council is the successor to the United Nations Commission on Human Rights and is a subsidiary body of the United Nations General Assembly.

Rare earths are a group of 17 chemically similar elements crucial to the manufacture of many hi-tech products.

Southern African Customs Union is an international customs union that includes Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia, South Africa and Swaziland. Established in 1901, it is the oldest economic pact on the continent.

World Trade Organization (WTO) is an organization that supervises international trade.  Made up of 157 members and 27 observer governments, the organization seeks to regulate trade and tariffs worldwide.