Africa: China Campaigns for Advantageous Investment Policies, Laws in Africa

CHINA has called for improved investment policies, laws and governance in Africa to enable its current 170 billion US dollar (over 390tri/-) investments in the continent to thrive.

Tanzania, which envisages semi-industrialised economy by 2025, is among the leading recipients of Chinese Foreign Direct Investments (FDIs) in the continent.

According to Tanzania Investment Centre (TIC), the public agency that coordinates, promotes and facilitates investments in the country, over 700 Chinese companies are registered in the East African nation.

With Chinese investments in Africa having increased 15 times between 2000 and 2017, the Ministry of Commerce revealed here that it's now mapping out plans to encourage Chinese firms to manufacture products from Africa, basically to help narrow the current trade disequilibrium between the two sides.

Director General of Western Asian and African Affairs in the Ministry of Commerce Jiang Wei, in an interview with African journalists here, said China embraces Africa as one of her best investment destinations.

Mr Jiang noted that local processing reduces costs of production, adding that they were in talks with African governments to have in place better conditions

to encourage Chinese firms to process more raw materials, domestically.

"Africa is a huge market owing to its abundant natural resources and population which are key to investment...we just need the continent to work on security issues, improve governance efficiency and create more industrial and investment supporting environment," Mr Jiang said.

A report released last year by McKinsey & Company, a US consultancy firm, showed that there are over 10,000 Chinese firms operating in Africa, with about a third in manufacturing sector.

Mr Jiang affirmed that China's direct investments in Africa have been increasing by three billion US dollars annually, attributing the upward trend to the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation that has elevated the relationship between the two sides to a comprehensive partnership.

He said China was determined to have considerable market share in Africa, but, in doing so, it will empower African countries to chart their own course, pick their own partners and focus on their own priorities.

"China attaches great importance on developing trade and economic cooperation with Africa...in nine consecutive years, China has been Africa's biggest trading partner and the quality of our exports to the continent has highly improved," he remarked.

He noted that Africa stands a better chance of becoming the next top driver of global demand and growth as the continent continues to receive high level of interest as the investment destination from investors across the world.

However, Mr Jiang affirmed that the continent was facing serious infrastructural deficits that require large scale investment.

He explained that China has its eyes on Africa's economic takeoff and that the world's second largest economy has invested on needed infrastructure to make it happen in the continent.

The African Affairs boss said as of 2016, the world populous nation had invested about 40 billion US dollars in infrastructure improvement in the African countries.

"It's China's priority to improve infrastructure in Africa... we believe that if you need to be rich, you must start with building roads and improving infrastructure in general," he said.

In 2016, the World Economic Forum highlighted six reasons to invest in Africa, the core of being continued economic diversification and capability to lead in sustainable development in the future.

Mr Jiang further said that China has already established about 20 industrial parks in Africa while it was negotiating with other countries in the continent to realise the same for mutual benefit.

With the recent signing of the Continental Free Trade Area agreement- an EU-like pact to unify Africa's economies by 44 countries, the continent's economy is billed to improve in the coming decades.

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