The 2018 Beijing Summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation will be held on September 3-4, and the Media Center thereof started the trial run on August 29. During the 5th CIFTIS (China Beijing International Fair for Trade in Services), the 2018 Africa Theme Day Forum organized by the Organizing Committee of China Africa Industrial Forum attracted the attention of numerous merchants, with over 30 ambassadors and counsellors, etc. of African countries to China and over 100 representatives of African enterprises in China present there.
CHENG Zhigang, Secretary General of China Africa Industrial Forum, summarized the outcomes in economic and trade cooperation between China and Africa through data. According to him, the trade between China and Africa is on a roll, and the trade volume is expected to reach USD 200 billion by the end of 2018, covering over 100 investment projects and a variety of fields. At the same time, December this year marks the 10th anniversary of the founding of China Africa Industrial Forum. Over the past 10 years, the Forum has concluded contracts totaling over USD 30 billion for more than 500 cooperative projects and boosted 600-odd Chinese enterprises to go to Africa.
Themed as "building the African market together", this Forum introduced policies and made information exchanges closely centering on the trade in services in Africa, including industry, agriculture, tourism, communications, finance and investment facilitation, logistics, science and technology, green development, peace and security, etc., introduced programs through multimedia display, keynote speeches and Q&A links, etc., and demonstrated programs and products in multiple fields, to provide a platform for the project negotiation and cooperation between China and Africa. Special negotiation zones were set up and signing ceremony for program cooperation was held at this Forum.
As an important international meeting of the CIFTIS, this Forum effectively promoted Chinese enterprises to have close contact with Africa, and learn investment policies, program information, and resource advantages of African countries. This Forum promoted the conclusion of many important cooperation agreements, created convenience for African countries to attract investments of Chinese enterprises, and became an important platform promoting the exchanges on trade in services between China and Africa.
According to CHENG Tao, former Director General of the Department of African Affairs of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Africa has begun to become a commodity market, energy market, mineral resource market, labor contracting market, technological product market, and financial market that attracts world attention, however, this market is still not perfect and developed enough; but it has huge potential and broad prospects. Africa covers an area of over 30 million km2, and has abundant natural resources and land resources. With a population of nearly 1.3 billion, Africa has very prominent human resource advantages; African economy is soaring: it grew at annual average 4.68% in the past 16 years; it declined in the past few years, but it is now recovering. According to the report of International Monetary Fund (IMF) in January 2018, the economic growth of Sub-Saharan Africa increased from 1.3% in 2016 to 2.4% in 2017, and will continue to increase to 3.2% in 2018.
Also as per this report, in 2019 under the circumstance that prices of bulk commodities are strong and domestic demands are gradually strengthened, African economic growth is expected to increase to 35%; resource-intensive African countries will advance more steadily: in 2018, the economic growth of C?te d'Ivoire is expected to reach 7.2%, that of Senegal is expected to reach 6.9%, that of Ethiopia is expected to reach 8.2%, and that of Tanzania is expected to reach 6.8%; the inflation rate of Kenya will be reduced to 5.5%.
CHENG Tao said, “Africa has great development potential. China and Africa have stayed together with mutual trust, shared experience in country governance, found the way to wealth to achieve rapid development in compliance with the actual national conditions, achieved common development, shared mutual benefits and realized win-win results together. China's talent and management experience holds great market potential in the African continent and thus Chinese and African enterprises will expect a brilliant future in cooperation in Africa.”
Dhia Khaled, the ambassador of Tunisia, expressed his hope that more and more Chinese enterprises will make investment in Tunisia and accordingly, Tunisia will provide a bunch of incentives and preferential measures for Chinese investors. Paul Chikawa, the ambassador of Zimbabwe, expressed his great expectation for China Africa Industrial Forum and extended his thanks to the contributions of China Africa Industrial Forum to the bilateral relationships between China and Zimbabwe in the past 10 years. Fatou Kinneh Jobe, the deputy ambassador of Gambia, said that Gambia sees very rapid economic growth in cities in Gambia and hoped that Chinese enterprises can go to Gambia for investment and construction. Dorothy Ngambi Tembo, ITC Deputy Executive Director, said that they are actively promoting foreign investments into Africa and emphasized the importance of the Belt and Road Initiative to African economic development.