BRAZZAVILLE (AFP) - China’s new President Xi Jinping on Saturday wrapped up his first foreign trip which has seen him sign energy deals with Russia and scores of accords with countries in resource-rich Africa.

Xi ended his tour with the first-ever visit by a Chinese president to the Congo, a small and impoverished country in central Africa, which has significant oil resources and other untapped mineral wealth.

On his second and last day in Brazzaville he met members of the Chinese community and attended the inauguration of a Chinese-built hospital and the capital’s largest university library before his plane took off for Beijing shortly after 1130 GMT. Xi, who was travelling with his wife Peng Liyuan - another first for a Chinese leader - on Friday inked 11 communications, banking and infrastructure deals worth millions of dollars in the Congo.

He said that he hoped to “deepen mutual understanding and friendship (with the Republic of the Congo) and lift bilateral ties to a new and higher level”, China’s state-run Xinhua news agency reported.

They build on two further accords worth several billion dollars already underway, one of which will finance the building of more than 500 kilometres (300 miles) of highway between Brazzaville and the economic capital on the Atlantic Coast, Pointe-Noire. These agreements add to dozens of energy deals signed between Russia and China, the world’s biggest energy consumer, at the start of the trip.

Seeking to shore up ties with Africa where trade soared to $200 billion last year, Xi visited Tanzania, South Africa and now Congo, praising the “continous progress” on the continent.

In Tanzania, where he signed 16 trade, cultural and development accords, Xi hailed Africa as a “continent of hope and promise” and urged countries to respect its “dignity and independence”.

Xi said China would “intensify not weaken” its relationship and noted commitment to provide a $20 billion credit-line to African nations over the next two years. Addressing leaders in Tanzania’s economic capital, Xi highlighted Beijing’s “sincere friendship” with Africa.

China’s relationship with Africa has caused many in the west to question the Asian nation’s motives, accusing it of neo-colonialism and overlooking abuses as it seeks oil and other natural resources to fuel its economic drive.

On Friday in an address to Congo’s parliament, Xi said that both nations shared a desire to develop.