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Focus should be on infrastructure, manufacturing

2013-03-27 10:28 China Daily     Web Editor: Wang Fan comment

Chinese future investment in Africa will become more focused on infrastructure and manufacturing to better serve Africa's economic transformation and industrialization demands, according to a top Chinese investor.

"A more industrialized Africa and sustainable African economy mirrors China's long-term interests in Africa," said Wang Yong, deputy chief executive officer and executive vice-president of the China-Africa Development Fund, which was founded under the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation in 2006.

Differing from traditional cash aid, he said CADF's investment in Africa attaches great importance to giving rather than taking.

"CADF's funds will be directed at some prioritized areas that address some key African issues such as infrastructure, agriculture, processing and manufacturing, that are designed to make the African economy and investment there more sustainable," he said.

Unlike some Western investment or development mechanisms, China's investment policy has never been conditional, which is key to developing an emerging economy, according to Wang.

"Our finance is not the strongest, our technology is not the most advanced and our management skills are not impeccable, but our experience and sincerity are two things that can help Africa's development the most."

Structural changes

Rene Kouassi, director of the Department of Economic Affairs of the African Union Commission, said Africa needs structural changes to sustain its industrial growth to become an emerging economy.

He told a recent AU workshop in Abidjan, that development of the industrial sector was the only thing which can have a real impact on the African economy.

"Innovation rests on the shoulders of the industrial sector and Africa has to industrialize or it will always remain behind," he added.

Nigerian Central Bank Governor Lamido Sanusi told the Financial Times in a recent interview that China could, and has, contributed positively to Africa's industrialization.

Isaac K. Fokuo, principal of the BOTHO Advisory Group based in Kenya, said China has established and encouraged many mechanisms to provide financing and facilities to Chinese companies, focusing on manufacturing and other strategic areas that promote industrialization.

"But as it stands now, it is very challenging for African companies to access capital from Chinese institutions," he said. "African governments have such access, but private companies find it challenging."

He also said China should keep encouraging its companies to share technology and expertise with their African counterparts.

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