“Africa is the Place to Be,” AfDB President Tells Chinese Business Leaders at the China-Africa Forum

“Africa is the place to be,” African Development Bank President tells Chinese business leaders at the China-Africa forum

September 6, 2018/AfDB

The President of the African Development Bank, Akinwumi Adesina, has urged Chinese business leaders to attend the Africa Investment Forum scheduled to take place in Johannesburg, South Africa, from 7-9 November 2018.

Adesina made the call while addressing delegates at the 6th Conference of Chinese and African Entrepreneurs, which took place on the sidelines of the 2018 Beijing Summit, attended by leaders from 53 African countries and China.

“I am sure you all know Africa is the place to be. African economies are growing well and the GDP growth rate is projected to average 4.1% this year,” he said.

Akinwumi had lively exchanges with high-level officials and business leaders from China, led by Vice-Premier Liu He, Governor Yi Gang of the People’s Bank of China, and the President of China Development Bank, Zheng Zhijie.

Responding to questions by China Economic News (CEN) on how China could be unique to Africa, Adesina said, “China doesn’t just promise, China delivers.”

In another interview, with China Daily, he noted: “There’s a perfect alignment between the Belt and Road Initiative and the ‘High 5s of the African Development Bank Group.” The Bank is already discussing with China Development Bank about formulating large-scale projects, which can fit in the both of the frameworks.”

The Bank President also described the relationship between China and Africa as a mutually reinforced partnership, noting that there are 10,000 Chinese companies and 1.3 million Chinese people throughout Africa.

Adesina cited significant trade imbalance as a challenge to be tackled. While nearly 90% of China’s exports to African countries are high-value-added products such as  machinery and equipment, 75% of Africa’s exports are raw materials. He therefore called on Chinese companies to invest, and not just contract or provide loans to Africa’s public sector.

Highlighting energy and the agriculture and food sectors as opening vast opportunities and potential to China and the world, Adesina expressed hopes for a strong representation by Chinese businesses at the upcoming African Investment Forum in South Africa.

“This is not a talk-show, it is all about transactions. US$92 billion portfolios are already set on this platform,” Adesina said.

The Africa Investment Forum will convene project sponsors, borrowers, lenders and investors, necessary for accelerating investments in Africa. The three-day event will unite global pension funds, sovereign wealth funds, and other financial sector investors.

The Forum will also bring together a network of financial institutions with instruments to de-risk selected investment opportunities. 

During his keynote speech at the opening ceremony of the 2018 China-Africa Cooperation Forum (FOCAC), President Xi Jinping referred to the Africa Investment Forum as a concrete step for “building a shared future.” 

Jinping pledged to extend a US$60 billion financing package and US$10 billion investment in Africa over the next three years.

China-Africa trade amounted to US$174 billion in 2017, a huge increase from just over US$10 billion in 2000. Chinese foreign direct investments in Africa have risen from US$10 billion in 2010 to over US$60 billion in 2017.

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