‘Collaboration key for business sector’
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#Focac: Johannesburg - South African Deputy Minister of Trade and Industry Mzwandile Masina said Chinese and African businesspeople were key in exploring trade and investment opportunities.
Speaking at the Forum on China-Africa Co-operation (Focac) in Sandton last week, Masina said businesspeople were key to seizing opportunities presented by the mutual economic co-operation between China and Africa.
Masina said the Business Forum served to advance the vision of the Chinese and African leaders of strengthening co-operation between China and African states to jointly meet the challenges of economic globalisation. It also furthered the common developmental objectives relating to poverty alleviation and economic transformation.
According to Masina, trade agreements signed by Heads of States required co-operation and commitment by businesspeople to advance industrialisation and productivity levels that had seen China taking a lead over the years.
“I am of the firm belief that there are many invaluable lessons that Africa can learn from China’s impressive growth model which has been spurred by its burgeoning middle class with rising incomes and purchasing power. The co-operation between China and Africa can even be expanded beyond trade and investment issues as both are major players in the global economy,” said Masina.
Masina added that it was important for China and Africa to jointly work towards a co-operation agenda with regards to capacity building, skills development, infrastructure development, and knowledge exchange initiatives and to increase foreign direct investment in key value adding industrial projects.
Speaking at the same forum, the Minister of Industry and Information Technology in China, Liu Lihua, said China and Africa could learn from each other to grow the economy and improve the living standards of their respective peoples and to encourage entrepreneurship.
Lihua said frank demonstration to support entrepreneurs to benefit from collaboration and industrialisation opportunities in Africa was important in order to achieve a win-win situation that would benefit all.
“China has an Industrial map that can be shared with Africa and can be worked on together to align our development strategies and collaborate in Special Economic Zones, roads infrastructure, industrial parks and railways with the aim of promoting industrial and economic development,” said Lihua.
Both ministers emphasised the importance of realising the African Union 2063 Agenda aimed at socio-economic transformation over the next 50 years. The agenda envisages shared prosperity built through social and economic transformation of the continent through manufacturing, value addition and science and technology-driven innovation.
Since 2009, China has been Africa’s largest single trading partner. Trade between China and Africa now stands over US$ 200 billion per year, up from a $10-billion 15 years ago. Chinese direct investment into Africa now stood at $30-billion, with more than 3 000 companies doing business in Africa.