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WEF: China unveils N7 trillion investment plan for Africa

China lends support to Africa in various sectors.

The Chinese government on Thursday unveiled a plan to invest over $42 billion (N7 trillion) in the development of various sectors of the Nigerian economy to promote inclusive growth in Africa.

The Premier of the People’s Republic of China, Li Keqiang, who announced the plan at the opening plenary of the on-going World Economic Forum, WEF, on Africa in Abuja, said China would be ready to work under six investment areas in Africa.

These include industrial and financial cooperation, poverty reduction, environmental protection, people-to-people exchanges, and cooperation on peace and security.

China, he said, would be ready to provide financing, technical, and human resources support by increasing its investment financing in Africa to about $10 billion (N1.6 trillion), while extending credit lines to African countries to about $30 billion (N4.8 trillion).

He said another $2 billion (N321 billion) would go into the China-Africa Development Fund, money that would be raised to about $5 billion.

There would also be monies set aside for special loans, financing funds and other forms of commercial loans and multilateral capitals to support the African Talent plan for the youth.

Under the plan, about 18,000 government scholarships would be provided to Africa for the training of about 30,000 professionals in various fields.

To realise inclusive growth, Mr. Keqiang stressed the importance of infrastructure in development, especially transportation, which is crucial for the economic take-off of developing countries.

Under the China-Africa trans-regional infrastructural cooperation with the African Union, AU, he said infrastructure development was accorded priority to help develop a high speed rail network connecting all African capitals; expansion of the African roads network, and creation of African regional aviation network.

He said China was ready to assist Africa realise its vision by working under a comprehensive cooperation on engineering, equipment, design, planning and management of high speed rail system in the continent.

Under a China-Africa regional aviation cooperation plan, he said China has proposed to set up aviation joint ventures that would provide civilian feeder jets, train aviation professionals, and build supporting facilities to promote the regional aviation industry in Africa.

He said China was ready to strengthen its cooperation with Africa by lending its expertise in construction and airports management as well as power generation, telecommunication, and development of other infrastructures.

Mr. Keqiang, who acknowledged Africa’s importance in the world in the last century, said China would support African people to carry their destinies in their own hands by strengthening its cooperation in terms of the provision of financing, technical, and human resources support, expansion of trade and investments in power generation, telecommunication, and other infrastructure.

Other proposed areas of support include strengthening of exchanges in science, technology, education, culture, media and sports, maintenance of peace and security, fight against terrorism, promoting interchanges between parliaments, political parties, social groups and non-governmental agencies.

The African economy, he noted, had shown great vitality and dynamism in the last century, with average growth rate of over 5 per cent for more than a decade, despite the global financial crisis, with its economic aggregate in excess of $2 trillion (N321 trillion) in 2013.

Seven of the world’s 10 fastest growing economies, he said, were in Africa, pointing out that Africa’s rise as the new global power would make the continent more democratic, stable, robust, diverse, colourful and conducive for global peace, development and progress.

Noting the mutually beneficial cooperation existing between China and Africa, The Premier said this was the greatest inclusive growth in the world, as it had contributed to the balanced development of the world’s economy.

Though Africa, he noted, was home to the largest number of developing countries, the continent was still faced with challenging situations in weak infrastructure, inadequate employment and a large impoverished population.

Making a case for a mutual cooperation between China and Africa which would help develop their infrastructure, Mr. Keqiang said both regions faced many similar issues, which had made the development of each an opportunity for the other.

“The strong growth in China has generated many more exports from Africa and given strong support to Africa’s rapid growth. The immense development potentials of Africa have attracted many Chinese companies to invest and do business here,” he said.

“Africa has the urgent need for infrastructure and industrial development, whereas China has surplus capacity in investment, construction and production. The economies of China and Africa are highly complementary based on mutually beneficial cooperation and drawing from each other’s strengths. Inclusive growth can only be achieved when people work together to meet their needs.”

All the project proposals, he said could be executed through joint ventures or cooperation with Africa, by encouraging Chinese companies to be localised in the continent to increase agricultural jobs, especially to the young people.

“China is ready to share with African countries the transfer of technology and managerial expertise as well as strengthen collaborations with international organization in the relevant countries under the principles of African consent, need and participation to contribute to its development,” he said.

The Founder /Executive Chairman, World Economic Forum, Klaus Schwab, who presided over the session, stressed the need for more attention to those components that create social inclusion, jobs and good health system, development of agriculture, good governance, and best practices.

“Economic growth without social stability and social inclusion was not sustainable, while Social development is not possible without economic growth,” he said.

He said social challenges could only be solved by the collective efforts of all society stakeholders, including not only the representatives in the highest level of government and business, but also of civil society, women and youth groups.

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