NAIROBI (KENYA), A UN official has hailed the critical role that China has played in Africa's development.

The UN Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) Representative to Kenya, Eritrea and South Sudan Emmanuel Kalenzi said that China has emerged as a key source of technology and capital in Africa's manufacturing and infrastructure sector.

"As a result, China has and continues to play a big role in the economic transformation of the African continent," Kalenzi said during the recently concluded Kenya Investment Authority and Shenzhen Municipality Investment conference.

Back in December 2015, UNIDO signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the China Council for the Promotion of International Trade for the two parties to cooperate in promoting trade and investment activities in developing countries.

Kalenzi noted that Sino-Africa cooperation and partnership is built along the lines of mutual respect for the benefit of both sides.

"I believe that there is still a lot of potential and a big role that China can play in the development of Africa," he added.

According to the UNIDO official, Beijing has responded to the growing interest of Africa leaders who are looking for more trade partnerships rather than aid to the continent.

Kalenzi said that China is relatively advanced as compared to Africa in terms of technology and know-how.

"So China can have a very big contribution in terms of helping to bridge Africa's technology gap," he added.

The Representative said that the Asian nation has also taken the lead in investing in the continent. "Some of the investments have made a difference in job creation in Africa," he added.