October 9, 2017 09:32
BEIJING -- China-Africa cooperation, especially in investment, sees great potential and huge space on rapid economic growth in Africa in recent years. It is inevitable to accelerate the cooperation of Sino-Africa under the Belt and Road Initiative, Shi Jiyang, President of China-Africa Development Fund (CADFund) said at the Sino-Africa Digital Financial Inclusion Summit on September 21.
-- China-Africa trade cooperation with bright prospect
Africa has seen the strongest economic growth in recent years, with the GDP average growth rate up 4.68 percent from 2000 to 2016. East Africa, in particular, has continuously emerged as one of the fastest-growing regions in the world. The population of middle-class consumers in Africa is expected to reach 224 million in 2040, from the present figure of 150 million.
China has maintained the lead as Africa's largest trade partner for eight consecutive years, since overtaking the United States in 2009.
In the first half year of 2017, China-Africa trade volumes stood at 85.3 billion U.S.dollars, up 19 percent year on year. During the same period, the investment volume to Africa was up 22 percent to 1.6 billion U.S.dollars. With over 3,000 Chinese enterprises investing in Africa, China’s direct investment value to Africa rose 46 percent annually on average since 2003.
Qu Xiangjun, Senior Managing Partner with McKinsey & Company, which is a global management consulting firm, said that infrastructural loans from China to Africa reached 21 billion U.S. dollars in 2016, seven times more than those from its second-largest lender, France. Meanwhile, China's aid fund to Africa stood at 6 billion U.S dollars, only 1.1 billion U.S. dollars less than that from UAE, Africa’s second-largest aid donor. China thus consolidated its position as one of Africa's most important partners over the past decade.
Furthermore, China-Africa collaboration is, firstly, more receptive to market orientation, in a gradual shift from government dominance, which is mutually beneficial; secondly, witnessing an upgrade from general commodity to capacity cooperation and processing trade; and thirdly, graduating from engineering contracts, to the investment and operation of mid-to-high end industries, including infrastructure investment and operation, special economic zones, industrial parks, business and logistics centers, and financial services.
--Investing in Africa blooms
Statistics showed that since the host of Johannesburg Summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation in 2015 to July 2016, cooperation agreements signed between China and Africa were valued in excess of 50 billion U.S. dollars. A batch of projects, covering infrastructure, special economic zones and industrial parks started operation or put into use, reflecting upward trend for transformation and upgrading between China and Africa.
The completion of several major China-Africa cooperative projects in 2016 drew worldwide attention. Addis Ababa-Djibouti Railway launched as Africa's first modern electric railway, fully constructed with Chinese equipment and adhering to Chinese standards; Nigeria's Abuja-Kaduna Railway also went into operation; Kigamboni Bridge, East Africa's largest cable-stayed cross-sea bridge, opened to traffic; Mombasa-Nairobi Railway, connecting Kenya's capital Nairobi to East Africa's largest Mombasa Port, is also expected to witness it’s trial operation in 2017. These major infrastructural landmarks not only support local development, but also boost regional economic integration.
--CADFund promotes China-Africa trade cooperation
CADFund, proposed in 2006 at the Beijing Summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation, is China's first private equity fund set up to encourage and support Chinese enterprises' investment in Africa. Over the past decade since its establishment, CADFund has invested more than 90 projects in 36 African countries. The implementation of such projects is likely to bring a total of 20 billion U.S.dollars to Africa.
Shi said that CADFund has ensured China-Africa bilateral cooperation in infrastructure, industrial capacity, agriculture and people's livelihood, energy and minerals, industrial parks and other key areas.
In infrastructure, CADFund provides comprehensive financial services to Chinese enterprises in Africa which focus on developing power, port, aviation and other industries.
CADFund also facilitates globalization of China's manufacturing and development experiences and technologies, to boost China-Africa industrial capacity cooperation. And even culturally, it helps African countries utilize their resources within a green and sustainable development concept.
The Sino-Africa Digital Financial Inclusion Summit, hosted by Renmin University of China (RUC), the China Banking Association and the China Micro-Credit Companies Association, and organized by the Chinese Academy of Financial Inclusion, RUC, discussed China-Africa financial inclusion, exchanges and cooperation. (Contributed by Ma Xin,firstname.lastname@example.org)
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