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Chinese industrial power fuels Africa's growth
2015-12-04
Brief:Whith more investments being made, Chinese companies are turning their attention overseas, especially to underdeveloped regions in Africa.
 BEIJING - The firm behind China's Three Gorges Dam has set its sights on sub-Saharan Africa.
 
Today, Chinese companies like CGGC are downshifting following a domestic glut and turning their attention overseas, especially to underdeveloped regions in Africa.
 
The CGGC bought a 155-million-dollar heavy fuel oil power plant in Liberia in 2014 and is considering cement industry joint ventures in Nigeria and Angola to meet local infrastructure needs.
 
Another Chinese construction giant, the China Railway Construction Corp. Ltd. (CRCC), has railway projects in Ethiopia and Kenya. It is also discussing building affordable housing and power plants in other African countries including Zimbabwe, Cameroon and Mali.
 
These projects are in line with national support for a drive the government terms "industrial production capacity cooperation." This cooperation is expected to be high on the agenda for the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation Summit due to be held in South Africa from Dec 4-5.
 
Africa is a natural partner for cooperation, Chinese and African economists and officials say.
 
China is Africa's largest trading partner. Africa's economy expanded by more than 5 percent annually over the past decade, but most of the continent lags behind in industrial production and infrastructure. China's extra industrial capacity, with its low costs and high quality, can fill the gap.
 
There are more than 3,000 Chinese businesses operating in Africa now in sectors including finance, telecommunications, energy, manufacturing and agriculture. Chinese companies have created more than 100,000 jobs on the continent. 
 
Compared with developed economies such as the United States, Japan and Europe, China brings to Africa not the most advanced or expensive products and technology, but offers advantages in cost and utility, said Zhang Yansheng, an economist with China's National Development and Research Commission.
 
There are a lot of business opportunities for China-Africa cooperation in transportation, power, water supply and health care, Zhang Jun, a CGGC official in charge of Sub-Saharan Africa operations, told Xinhua.
 
Major Chinese telecommunication players, including Huawei and ZTE, have helped reduce the cost of telecommunications across Africa, while the China Export-Import Bank has been active in providing soft loans for railways and road networks.
 
China-Africa cooperation has contributed more than 20 percent of Africa's growth, according to a report of the International Monetary Fund.
 
Inadequate infrastructure has restricted Africa's sustainable development, and the continent is open to Chinese investors, Victor Sikonina, head of the African Diplomatic Corps and Madagascar's ambassador to China, said in Beijing last month.
 
China's investment in Africa exceeded 30 billion U.S. dollars as of the end of 2014, an increase of 60 times over the amount in 2000. The country has pledged to bring that figure up to some 100 billion U.S. dollars by 2020.
 
"As long as African people need it, Chinese companies will invest in Africa, even if they can't make much money there," he told Xinhua.
 
Chinese firms are also working to localize their operations in Africa, training local management staff and employing more locals, said Li Shubin, a manager in charge of overseas projects at a company under the CRCC.
 
China has written off billions of dollars of debt owed by African countries so far. It has also rolled out about 900 assistance programs covering agriculture, health, education and other fields and offered training to more than 30,000 local people since 2012.
 
 
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