Chinese firms explore investments in four African countries at ITC-organised seminar

3 March 2016
ITC News

PIGA project aims to spur African job creation, income growth through increased Chinese trade and investment

Representatives from 90 Chinese companies last week expressed strong interest in investing in Africa, following a seminar on promoting investment in Ethiopia, Kenya, Mozambique, and Zambia. More than 190 businesspeople joined government officials from China and the four African countries at the 25-26 February event in Tangshan, Hebei Province, China.

Organized by ITC, the China-Africa Development Fund (CADFund) and the China Council for the Promotion of International Trade (CCPIT), the seminar was held under the Partnership for Investment and Growth in Africa (PIGA), which aims to promote growth and job creation in Africa by deepening trade and investment ties with China. Funded by the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development (DFID), PIGA seeks to sustainably boost incomes for people living in poverty in Africa through greater integration of small and medium-sized enterprises into global value chains.

The seminar aimed to increase Chinese investors’ awareness about opportunities in the four African countries, and initiate discussions on potential investment projects.

In his remarks to the seminar, Xuejun Jiang, chief of ITC’s Office for Asia and the Pacific, argued that trade and investment with China offered a major opportunity to support Africa’s structural shift from low- to high-productivity activities. “In order to achieve this transition and inclusive growth, Africa needs manufacturing and agricultural investments anchored in export markets,” he said. “This seminar will provide information on investment opportunities in manufacturing and agro-processing sectors in four African countries which will be useful for Chinese companies to make investment decisions in the future.”

Investment promotion officers from the Ethiopia Investment Commission, the Kenya Investment Authority, the Mozambique Investment Promotion Centre (CPI) and the Zambia Development Agency presented opportunities in their countries’ light-manufacturing and agro-processing sectors. Senior government officials from the four countries had earlier sketched out their national investment climates, complemented by presentations from four Chinese companies on their experiences investing in those countries.

Participants from China and the four African countries said the seminar was useful both to build awareness and to establish direct contacts with each other.

Seyoum Mesfin, Ethiopia’s former foreign minister and current ambassador to China, said that “with political commitment on the part of state actors and expert support from such organizations as ITC, DFID, CADFund, as well as CCPIT, this noble initiative of PIGA has the potential to truly assist [Africa] to become the next growth pole for the global economy.”

“Under PIGA’s cooperation framework, CADFund, ITC and DFID will jointly promote the industrialization process in Africa and contribute to the poverty reduction,” added Li Dongwei, who heads CADFund’s Representative Office in Ethiopia

After the seminar, the investment promotion officers and officials from the four African countries visited one of the largest steel companies in Tangshan, Tangsteel, and discussed potential investments in Africa.

PIGA was officially launched on 22 October 2015 in London. PIGA is a partnership among DFID, CADFund and ITC. Its goal is to leverage Chinese trade and investment ties to develop export-oriented manufacturing in Africa, contributing to growth and poverty reduction. Ethiopia, Kenya, Mozambique and Zambia are the pilot countries for the project’s one-year introductory scoping and design phase. The seminar in Tangshan was sponsored by DFID, the Tangshan Municipal People’s Government, and the CCPIT Hebei Provincial Committee.