China and UK partner with ITC to promote investment-led exports and growth in Africa
(Beijing/Geneva) – Chinese companies are set to scale up their investments on the African continent and play a bigger part in helping Africa achieve higher and more sustained economic growth. This was the message from participants at the ‘Forum on Chinese Investment for Sustainable Trade and Economic Growth in Africa’, which explored opportunities for Chinese companies to invest in Africa’s productive sectors as a means to drive export development, economic growth and job creation.
Held in Beijing on 31 May, the Forum was organized in the framework of the Partnership for Investment and Growth in Africa (PIGA), a joint UK-China effort to increase exports and sustainable economic growth in African countries. The Forum brought together more than 200 representatives from business, government, and trade and investment support institutions from Ethiopia, Kenya, Mozambique, Zambia, as well as China and the United Kingdom.
The Forum comprised of a range of high-level speakers, including ITC Executive Director Arancha González, Ms. Xiong Jiuling, Chairwoman, Beijing Sub-council of the China Council for the Promotion of International Trade (CCPIT), Mr. Shi Jiyang, Chief Executive Officer, China-Africa Development Fund (CADFund), and Mr. David Kennedy, Director-General for Economic Development, the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development (DFID).
Pointing out that Africa offers untapped and growing opportunities for businesses and investors, Ms. González said: ‘African small and medium size enterprises (SMEs) are the growth levers to ensure local value addition and job creation. Increased Chinese investment support for African SMEs in the light manufacturing and agro-processing sectors will unlock opportunities to increase exports to regional and global markets. This is what we aim to achieve through PIGA.’
Mr. Yin Zonghua, Vice Chairman of CCPIT, said that China-Africa relations had reached a stage unmatched in history. ‘Mutual and political trust, trade, and economic cooperation between China and Africa have achieved fruitful results and enjoy broader prospects,’ he said. ‘China is Africa’s largest trading partner and Africa has become one of the most important investment destinations for Chinese enterprises. Through practical exchanges, this Forum will create more business opportunities by building a platform for Chinese investments in Africa and deepening pragmatic cooperation between China and Africa’
Mr. Jiyang referred to Africa as ‘a continent of hope’, pointing to its rapid economic growth and the unprecedented opportunities in industrialization. He said: ‘Over the past nine years, CADFund has successfully promoted a number of Chinese enterprises to invest in Africa. Under PIGA, CADFund will continue to play its role as a bridge for China-Africa cooperation, and contribute to work for industrialization and sustainable growth in Africa.’
Mr. Kennedy said: ‘I am delighted to be in Beijing and particularly to see the level of interest and energy generated by this event. It shows the great potential of this kind of triangular cooperation to make a real difference in terms of investment and jobs in Africa’.
‘The audience heard that there is an increasing potential for structural transformation in Africa, to shift from low to high-productivity activities. Manufacturing and agricultural investments anchored in export markets offer great opportunities to make this transition happen. China’s large and growing importance as a trading partner and investor in Africa can help grasp these opportunities,’ he said.
Through the PIGA project, DFID, CCPIT, CADFund and ITC work together to increase sustainable investment for greater integration of SMEs into global value chains in the manufacturing and agro-processing sectors. PIGA aims to maximise local development beneﬁts, including the creation of more, better and inclusive jobs in Ethiopia, Kenya, Mozambique and Zambia.
During the Forum, Ms. González and Mr. Zonghua signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to strengthen collaboration and to promote trade and investment between China and other developing countries.
‘ITC has been working with CCPIT for many years to support the internationalization of Chinese companies,’ Ms. González said. ‘Today ITC and CCPIT will bring our partnership to the next level and step up support for Chinese companies investing in Africa and for Asian least developed countries to increase their exports China.’
Mr. Zonghua said that CCPIT had always attached great importance to the cooperation and exchange with ITC. ‘As the most important and largest institution for trade and investment promotion in China, CCPIT will work together with ITC under the framework of this MoU to strengthen trade capacities and the internationalization of SMEs, and expand trade and investment between China and other developing countries,’ he said.
Notes for the Editor:
The speech delivered by ITC Executive Director Arancha González at the Forum on Chinese Investment for Sustainable Trade and Economic Growth in Africa can be read here: http://www.intracen.org/news/Opening-address---Forum-on-Chinese-investment-for-sustainable-trade-and-economic-growth-in-Africa/
Further background on the Partnership for Investment and Growth in Africa can be found here:
About ITC – ITC is the joint agency of the World Trade Organization and the United Nations. ITC assists small and medium-sized enterprises in developing and transition economies to become more competitive in global markets, thereby contributing to sustainable economic development within the frameworks of the Aid-for-Trade agenda and the United Nations’ Global Goals for Sustainable Development. ITC is the implementing agency of the PIGA project. For more information, visit www.intracen.org. Follow ITC on Twitter: @ITCnews
About CADFund – CADFund is an independently operated fund whose primary objective is to support Chinese companies to develop cooperation with Africa. It was established as an outcome of the Beijing Summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation in November 2006. CADFund aims to achieve mutually beneficial cooperation between China and Africa, filling the gaps between traditional aids and loans.
About DFID – The Department for International Development (DFID) is the government ministry responsible for leading the UK’s work to end extreme poverty. DFID works to end the need for aid by creating jobs, unlocking the potential of girls and women and helping to save lives when humanitarian emergencies hit. DFID is the donor of the PIGA project.
About CCPIT – China Council for the Promotion of International Trade (CCPIT) is a national foreign trade and investment promotion agency in China founded in 1952. The major responsibilities of the CCPIT include implementation of relevant major national development strategies, promotion of foreign trade, bilateral investment and economic and technological cooperation and carrying forward cooperation with overseas trade promotion counterparts.