Full text: China-Africa Economic and Trade Cooperation
 

II. Expanding Mutual Investment Fields 

    China began to invest in African countries in the 1980s, and on a small scale at the beginning. In the 1990s China kept expanding its investment scale, widening the fields of investment and diversifying investment approaches in Africa. Since 2000, driven by the FOCAC, China's investment in Africa has been growing rapidly, gradually forming a pluralized investment pattern. Meanwhile, Africa has also become active in its investment in China, and the business of a number of African enterprises is fast growing in the Chinese market.

   In recent years, China's investment in Africa has shown new characteristics. First, rapid growth. By the end of 2003 China's direct investment in Africa had reached US$490 million, rocketing to US$9.33 billion by the end of 2009. Second, wide distribution.China's investment in Africa is distributed in 49 African countries, and most of which is in South Africa, Nigeria, Zambia, Sudan, Algeria and Egypt. Third, wide range of areas. China's investment in Africa covers mining, financing, manufacturing, construction, tourism, agriculture, forestry, animal husbandry and fisheries. Fourth, multiform methods. In addition to sole proprietorship and joint-venture ownership, investment methods are also being increasingly diversified, such as equity participation, merger and acquisition, and joint-venture cooperation with third-country enterprises for resources development. Fifth, diverse investors. State-owned large and medium-sized enterprises, private enterprises and individuals have all invested and started business in Africa, complementing each other with their own advantages.

Figure 2 Distribution ofChina's Direct Investment in African Industries (by the end of 2009)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Chinese government encourages and supports Chinese enterprises with strength and good reputation to expand their investment in Africa, and has adopted necessary measures to guide them in this respect. The result is satisfactory. First, a favorable investment environment has been created by signing agreements and other approaches. So far,Chinahas signed bilateral agreements with 33 African countries regarding the promotion and protection of investment, and it has signed agreements with 11 African countries on avoiding double taxation, thereby creating favorable conditions for China-Africa enterprise cooperation. Second, China has set up the China-Africa Development Fund. This is a stock equity fund created by China's financial organizations to give special support to Chinese enterprises when they invest in Africa. Over the three years since its establishment, the fund has approved investment in over 30 projects, covering agricultural development, machinery manufacturing, electric power, building materials, industrial parks, mining and port logistics, among other fields. Now the arrangement of the first-stage fund of US$1 billion has been completed, and the fund is expected to be increased to US$5 billion. Third, China has been pushing forward the building of overseas economic and trade cooperation zones in Africa. Supported by governments of the two sides, Chinese enterprises take charge of infrastructure construction in the operation zones, and attract Chinese and foreign enterprises to move in and gradually form industrial clusters. At present, China is building six economic and trade cooperation zones in Zambia, MauritiusNigeria, Egypt and Ethiopia, having invested US$250 million in infrastructure construction. The Zambia-China Economic and Trade Cooperation Zone was the first overseas economic and trade cooperation zone launched by China. So far 13 companies have moved in; they engage in mining, prospecting, nonferrous metals processing, chemical engineering, and construction, having made investment worth US$600 million, and providing more than 6,000 jobs for local people.

African countries possess rich resources, hence cooperation in resource development is a significant part of China-Africa investment cooperation. In recent years, in accordance with the principle of mutually beneficial cooperation and development, a number of Chinese enterprises have actively involved in the development of African resources, and have been assisting African countries to develop resource processing industries to increase the added value of their resources, so as to convert resource advantages into driving forces of social and economic development. In the course of cooperation, Chinese enterprises strictly stick to universally acknowledged rules, adopt open, transparent and multiform ways of cooperation to jointly exploit and utilize resources with African countries and international enterprises against monopoly and exclusiveness. The investment by Chinese enterprises in this field has expanded the financial sources for African development, raised thevalue of such resources, and facilitated local infrastructure construction and economic development, thus winning the approval and support of local governments and people. For instance, Chinese and Malaysian enterprises have cooperated with Sudan in oil exploitation, and helped that country establish a modern petroleum industry featuring integrated upstream and downstream operation, which substantially increased Sudan's financial revenue and played an essential role in improving the livelihood of the local people.

Chinese enterprises operating in Africa pay special attention togood relations with the local people, by operating within the rule of law,adhering to credibility, and enhancing resource conservation and environment protection. They are localizing their operations by employing a large number of local workers, and making efforts to strengthen the African countries' capabilities to develop without outside help, thus contributing to the economic development of Africa while accelerating their own growth. For example, a Chinese mining enterprise in Zambia has invested in setting up metallurgical plants to improve the utilization efficiency of local copper resources. After the outbreak of the international financial crisis, it promises that it "will not slash production, not lay off workers and not reduce investment," thus becoming the only one that doesn't reduce either production or staff among the seven foreign-invested mining enterprises in Zambia.

In recent years, as the African economy develops and China's market potential grows, African enterprises have been investing more vigorously in China. Mauritius, South Africa, Seychelles, Nigeria and Tunisia are the major African countries investing in China. A beer joint venture started by a South African enterprise in China is operating nearly 70 breweries. A chemical fertilizer joint venture formed by Tunis and Chinese enterprises has become a leading compound fertilizer producer in China. By the end of 2009 African countries' accumulated direct investment in China amounted to US$9.93 billion, covering petrochemical engineering, machinery and electronics, transportationand telecommunications, light industry and household appliances, garments and textiles, bio-pharmaceuticals, agricultural development, entertainment and catering, real estate, and other sectors. Africa's investment in China features mutually complementary advantages, thereby promoting China's exports to Africa and other regions.

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