China expands Africa investment to boost trade cooperation

2023-06-14 08:51:55Global Times Editor : Li Yan ECNS App Download

China will expand investment in Africa with various measures in a bid to strengthen economic and trade cooperation between the two sides, Chinese officials said on Tuesday. 

The remarks were made at a press conference held by the Ministry of Commerce and the Hunan provincial department of commerce. The Central China province is to hold the third China-Africa Economic and Trade Expo from June 29 to July 2 in Changsha, capital of Hunan.

Representatives from 50 African countries and eight international organizations have registered to attend the expo.

China is willing to sign or update investment promotion and protection agreements and elimination of double taxation agreements with these countries to improve the level of liberalization and the facilitation of trade and investment cooperation, said Deputy Commerce Minister Li Fei at the press conference.

China will continue to encourage domestic firms to strengthen cooperation in China-Africa industry and supply chains by relying on trade cooperation zones in Africa, and China will also organize various exhibition platforms to further tap the potential of the two sides, Li added. 

In terms of financial support, China will actively support and encourage Chinese companies to make good use of the China-Africa Development Fund and China-Africa Fund for Industrial Cooperation, Li added. 

Official data showed that total bilateral trade exceeded $2 trillion in the past decade, and China has remained the largest trade partner for Africa.

As an important part of China-Africa economic and trade cooperation, investment has been in an uptrend as well. 

In 2022, China's new direct investment in Africa was $3.4 billion. China is the fourth-largest source of investment in Africa, and there are more than 3,000 Chinese companies investing in Africa, according to the Ministry of Commerce. 

China's direct investment in Africa reached $1.38 billion in the first four months of this year, a year-on-year increase of 24 percent, which "fully demonstrated the resilience of economic and trade cooperation between China and Africa and the confidence of Chinese companies in the African market," Li said. 

The investment fields for China in Africa are expanding. They cover construction, mining, manufacturing, technology, wholesale and retail operations, agriculture, real estate, finance, e-commerce and other industries.

Meanwhile, there are more forms such as equity participation and mergers and acquisitions, and investment via private enterprises, which account for more than 70 percent of the Chinese enterprises in Africa, has become a new force for China's investment in Africa, Li added. 

However, Chinese investment in Africa has triggered some Western media and politicians' fabrications, such as "debt traps" involving China. Chinese experts said that such accusations are "groundless."

China's investment in Africa does not come with political strings attached, Song Wei, a professor at the School of International Relations and Diplomacy at Beijing Foreign Studies University, told the Global Times.

Europe and the US have always believed that the root cause of Africa's underdevelopment is low governance capacity, and they also hope to export Western values through development assistance. Therefore, they attach political and economic conditions to development loans or aid, Song added. 

China has carried out practical cooperation in response to Africa's needs, expanding new areas and driving forces, and the fruits of such cooperation have spread across Africa. The benefits to the African people of cooperation are self-evident, the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs said on May 5. 

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