Chinese, African enterprises seal $18b deals

More than 40 deals worth US$18 billion were signed in Beijing on Thursday between Chinese and African businesses and financial institutions.

The agreements, signed during a China-Africa Business Cooperation seminar, cover infrastructure construction, energy and manufacturing.

They were reached on the eve of a coordinators' meeting that aims to implement follow-up action on the Johannesburg Summit of the Forum of China-Africa Cooperation held in December.

Ministerial representatives from 53 forum members will attend Friday's meeting to review progress and to discuss how to put the plans and ideas produced at the summit into practice.

During the summit, President Xi Jinping put forward 10 major plans to boost cooperation with Africa in the next three years and said China would provide a $60 billion investment package to finance the implementation of the initiatives.

P. Mupazviriho, permanent secretary at Zimbabwe's Ministry of Environment, Water and Climate, said, "I'm looking forward to the water project involved in today's signing ceremony."

Mupazviriho was in Beijing to sign a contract with a Chinese company for the construction of a dam in the African country.

He said the dam will take more than three years to complete, but the project means there will be many opportunities for investment in agriculture and domestic water supplies.

Chinese companies have been busy investing in Africa in recent years, with the continent becoming China's second-largest market for overseas contract construction.

In the first six months of this year, China's direct investment in Africa increased year-on-year by 10 percent, according to the Ministry of Commerce.

On Thursday, Vice-President Li Yuanchao met with the heads of delegations from African countries to attend the coordinators' meeting, and called for China and Africa to promote practical cooperation and people-to-people exchanges, and to enhance cooperation on international affairs.

Yao Guimei, a researcher of African studies at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said the agreements signed on Thursday show that China is optimistic about the great potential in Africa.

"Backed by funds such as the China-Africa Fund for production capacity cooperation, Chinese companies, which have a good capacity for infrastructure, can help African countries to build much-needed infrastructure facilities," Yao said.

Source: China Daily