By Bukola Ogunsina, Beijing, China
The Vice President of China Exim Bank, Yuan Xingyong has said that China and Africa relations should focus on real results that would be felt by the people. As such, both sides should focus on helping African countries and its people to solve the problem of its development, especially on projects quick on economic returns that can be sustainable. This the Vice President said recently in a key note speech addressing the 27 African journalists of the 2017 China Africa Press Centre programme, at its headquarters in Beijing.
While addressing the journalists from various African countries, Yuan said, “Africa has always been one of the most dynamic regions in the world. Considering the economic growth over the past years. Even if the economic growth of Africa is relatively slowed down by the influence of other factors after 201, it can still bounce back in 2017, in consideration of the world economic recovery.”
He noted that with the rebound in commodity price and the influence of demographic dividend, Africa will be the second fastest region in economic growth just after south East Asia. According to the forecast of Africa Development Bank as well as OECD, the economic growth of Africa in 2017 will hopefully rise up to 3.4 percent.
“The trade between China and Africa has shown good development in recent years and China has been the largest trade partner of Africa for many years. China’s investment to Africa is also constantly increasing as the political environment of African countries is becoming increasingly stable, and the business environment of Africa is also improving.
“The overall investment from China to Africa is now more than 100 billion US dollars with more than 3000 Chinese companies conducting business in Africa. And it can be foreseen that China’s investment in Africa will be a bright spot and a new first point for China Africa economic and trade cooperation. And also it can become the main driver for China and Africa to deepen its cooperation in the near future,” he indicated.
The Vice President pointed out that China Exim Bank as a professional financial institution focusing on promoting financial and economic cooperation, always takes enhancing the trade and investment cooperation between China and Africa as its own duty and plays a positive role in supporting the cooperation. China Exim Bank has become the main participant to support the development of Africa, and the comprehensive cooperation between China and Africa.
He further disclosed that the project conducted and supported by the bank in Africa is now more than 600 with the outstanding balance of more than 340 million Yuan.
The Vice President stressed that China Exim Bank always embraces the principles of sincerity, real results, affinity and good faith. The bank upholds justice and pursues shared interests in its cooperation with Africa under the guidance of two major cooperation projects, as well as the three networks and industrialisation. The bank vigorously advances the capacity cooperation between China and Africa especially on the Belt and Road Forum for international cooperation held this year.
“China Exim Bank has signed 10 loan agreements with other countries and joint statements regarding the countries alongside the Belt and Road which creates new opportunities for the development of China, Africa cooperation,” he said.
Yuan also revealed that as of now China Exim Bank has supported projects in about 50 countries in Africa, including infrastructural development projects in railway, road and airport as well as livelihood projects in schools, hospitals and housing. Improve the local working and living conditions as well as invest in the environment and achieve good economic and social benefits that are widely welcomed by the government and the people of host countries.
He further stated that China Exim Bank’s improvising financial support for projects in Africa and bringing Chinese companies, products, technology and services, also brings advanced technology management experience and professional experts to African countries. This in turn improves the independent development capacity and also enhances the sustainable development of the African economy.
“For instance China Exim Bank has provided financial support for the renovation and extension project of the Zimbabwe Victoria Falls airport which has already become the symbol of friendship between China and Zimbabwe. Victoria Falls airport is now completed and in operation which can be used by tourists to travel directly to the falls. The successful implementation of this project not only break the bottle neck of Zimbabwe’s tourism development, but also encourages the investment in local hotels and catering industries which has improved the employment and economic growth of Zimbabwe.”
For other plans in Africa, the Vice President noted, “In the long term participation of China Africa cooperation, China Exim Bank has gradually established a comprehensive business system covering loans, investment and consulting. Accumulated each experience in managing overseas project, built up good international brand identification and own a series of concept and experience in supporting China and Africa cooperation and improving the development of Africa,” he said.
He also urged that what is vital is to first of all stick to the principle of solidarity, equality and mutual respect in cooperation. Adding that the China and African cooperation should be based on sincerity, equality and mutual respect. “Mutual respect should be based on precondition of China Africa cooperation. We always insist on mutual understanding, mutual support and maintenance of justice and fairness in issues of core interest and major concern for both sides,” he averred.
He said that respecting laws and rules and respecting local customs of African countries and paying close attention to environmental and social impacts of products was fundamental to the bank and welcomed by host countries. And furthermore the bank is focused on sticking to target of improving development in practical ways.