Meanwhile, Carlos Lopes, former Executive Secretary of the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA), one of the co-facilitators at the panel, has spoken of “misinformation” surrounding Chinese investments in Africa.
According to Lopes, Beijing occupies the first position regarding the volume of investment and trade in Africa. And yet, he added, this figure represents less than 5 percent of China’s investment worldwide.
Lopes explained that China is entering a new phase of the expansion of its economy, and that it will change its interaction with the rest of the world including Africa. “Chinese politics in Africa under President Xi Jinping is clearer in shaping its relationship with Africa,” he said.
Ethiopia’s deputy Prime Minister Demeke Mekonnen, a panel member, also spoke of “the dynamism of Chinese investments on the continent”, and said African countries can draw inspiration from China’s industrial policies to ensure a more productive work force.
“Chinese investments are welcomed in the energy and manufacturing infrastructure sectors, and offer good opportunities to boost the structural transformation of our economies,” he said.
More than 10,000 Chinese companies are currently operating in Africa, providing jobs and actively participating in the economies in which they operate, according to data from McKinsey Consulting, published in a working document of the forum.
According to the same source, China’s growth may have slowed, but it continues to grow by US$700 billion a year, driven more and more by local consumption, which also presents a huge opportunity.
The second edition of the Africa Forum 2017 started Thursday in Sharm el Sheikh (Egypt), on the theme: “Promoting Trade and Investment in Africa.”
Africa 2017 was organized by the Egyptian Ministry of Investment and International Cooperation, and the Regional Investment Agency (RIA) of the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA).