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China-Africa forum brings businesses, leaders together

Li You
Updated: May 31,2017 9:08 AM     China Daily

Experts called for Chinese people to make more investments in African countries during the 2017 China Beijing International Fair for Trade in Services.

Cheng Zhigang, secretary-general of the China Africa Industrial Forum, said he is confident in future cooperation between China and Africa.

There are three major advantages for Chinese enterprises investing in Africa at present, according to Cheng.

First is the low-cost resources of labor and land in Africa; second, the continent’s exclusive beneficial policies for Chinese investors; and third, the deep friendship between African and Chinese people.

“I think that entrepreneurs need to have a long-term vision and extraordinary courage when investing in Africa because the industries in most African countries are in the rising stage, like China in the 1980s,” Cheng said.

Businesses in construction materials, furniture manufacturing, printing and fisheries all have good prospects in Africa.

In addition, the vehicle maintenance and spareparts manufacturing industries also have high demand, as secondhand cars are preferred by a large portion of African people, but are more prone to breaking down, Cheng said.

The China Africa Industrial Forum was founded in 2000 under the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation. Its mission is to facilitate exchanges and cooperation in politics, economy, culture, business and trade between China and Africa.

“Most Chinese companies want to step out of China, but what they are concerned about is the security of foreign countries and investment risks,” Cheng said.

The China Africa Industrial Forum has set up a legal affairs department and gathered experts to provide enterprises with advice on avoiding risks.

In addition, if Chinese enterprises encounter problems in the process of investing in Africa, the forum will help resolve the case.

According to Cheng, the 2017 CIFTIS will show more than 1,000 projects in the Africa-themed exhibition.

Those projects will cover the industries of manufacturing, new energy, logistics, healthcare, finance and tourism.

Some of the projects will highlight agricultural industries. Due to adverse climates and technical shortages, agriculture in some African countries is struggling. The forum hopes China can provide those areas with knowledge and advanced agricultural technology.

The China Africa Industrial Forum has also invited ambassadors of these countries to illustrate the development and investment environment of their countries at the fair.

The forum will provide Chinese entrepreneurs with opportunities to have face-to-face exchanges with African experts and leaders, and advocates orderly development of competition for Chinese companies.

More detailed information will be announced at the fair to provide more choices for Chinese investors.

In recent years, trade volume between China and Africa has been sluggish. Since 2015, the trade volume has continuously dropped, Cheng said.

“But in 2017, I believe that Chinese-African trade will catch up with the volume seen in 2014. I hope that Chinese investors will have a specific target,” Cheng said.

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