The “2nd Investing in Africa Forum” in Guangzhou has highlighted the strides of complementarities for shared prosperity within the continent.
As African countries battle to attract viable investments in their drive to journey out of biting underdevelopment, global financiers and other experts where investments have succeeded outstandingly feel the continent stands to gain much were it to share experiences and embrace best practices. Experts from the World Bank, China Development Bank and Guangzhou, in one of China’s most industrious provinces, hold that there is need for innovative investment mechanisms to make the environment increasingly business-friendly.
At the end of a two-day “2nd Investing in Africa Forum” in China’s business hub, Guangzhou, Guangdong province (September 7-8, 2016), attendees came to a conclusion that the continent needs to upgrade services for investment promotion, be open for mutual cooperation and combat all forms of protectionism for fruitful trade and long-term win-win investments. Over 38 African countries took part in the forum with South Africa’s President, Jacob Zuma and Benin’s Head of State, Patrice Talon, leading their respective countries’ delegations.
From Ma Kai, Vice Premier, the State Council China passing through Zhu Xiaodan, Governor of Guangdong Province to the two African leaders, China with her market advantage and technological know-how remains a choice partner for natural resource-rich Africa. Developing infrastructure wherein Africa greatly lags behind and coincidently where China has the funding opening and engineering prowess, they agreed, could bolster the cooperation.
Building human capital, concentrating in areas where the countries and regions have comparative advantages and producing in industrial scale as well as ensuring local processing of what is produced in the continent, the experts posited, could produce the magic wand. The forum also suggested a think-tank alliance to deepen research and other partnerships between African and Chinese universities and institutes. The goal is to create a long-term impact of the growing Sino-African cooperation for the good of present and future generations.
The choice of Guangzhou city and Guangdong province as host of the 2nd edition of the forum after Addis Ababa in 2015, organisers said, was not unrelated to their cooperation with Africa and proximity to the outside world. The province is described as the forerunner of China’s reform and opening-up and hosts three of China’s five special economic zones. Records show that Guangdong has long been China’s trade centre. Its exports and imports in 2015 totalled 1022.95 billion USD, surpassing China’s other provinces for 28 years running and comprising more than a quarter of the entire nation’s foreign trade. The forum therefore permitted Africa to see the effects of the growth on the ground and to learn the secret.