Ten-year old China-Africa Cooperation Forum benefits Africans amid booming trade, investment

08:23, November 19, 2010      

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"I benefit from it," said ABU Mbulawa, CEO of Mantra consulting company in South Africa, when asked to comment on the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC).

Thanks to the FOCAC, he found his present Chinese business partner, he told Xinhua, with a smile on his face.

His company, based in Durban of South Africa, has kept close cooperation with its partner in Shanghai ever since they began cooperation four years ago.

This year marks the 10th anniversary of the establishment of the FOCAC, and a seminar on the FOCAC was held in Pretoria on Thursday. Over 200 governmental officials, diplomats, scholars and business leaders attended the seminar, and Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping was invited to address the opening ceremony of the seminar.

Mbulawa was invited to attend the seminar as he is a researcher in the FOCAC issue.

His story is not alone in Africa.

Official figures show that China-Africa trade rose from 10.6 billion U.S. dollars in 2000 to 106.8 billion U.S. dollars in 2008 at an annual growth rate of more than 30 percent.

In 2009, China's direct investment in Africa stood at 1.44 billion U.S. dollars, an increase of nearly six times over the year 2000. By the end of 2009, China had canceled more than 300 zero-interest loans owed by 35 heavily-indebted needy countries and least developed countries in Africa.

So far China is Africa's top trading partner while Africa is China's fourth biggest overseas investment destination.

Mohamed Ould Hannani, Mauritania's ambassador to South Africa told Xinhua that people in Mauritania are grateful to Chinese people because China has helped their country a lot, especially in infrastructure construction closely related to people's daily life.

He cited huge projects like expansion project of the harbour, drinking water project, airport construction in Nouakchott, capital of Mauritania, all of them got assistance from China.

"These projects have not only boosted our economy, but also directly improved our people's lives," he said.

In retrospect, the ambassador said the Africa-China relations have "progressed very well" in the past decade.

Looking ahead, he said he was "confident" in the progress of the relations between Africa and China in years to come.

Mbulawa, on his part, expressed his sincere hope that the FOCAC could maintain its momentum in the next decade.

However, people outside of Africa and China have their own perspective on the FOCAC.

Peter Mollema, deputy head of mission of Netherlands Embassy in South Africa, said it is obvious that relations between China and African countries like South Africa is growing. Under the FOCAC forum, many Chinese companies are investing and cooperating with the Africans.

"What we have to learn from China at the moment is we have to take less of political and more of economical approach.I think our focus have been too much on political cooperation,"said Mollema.

He noted that Netherlands has a long tradition in South Africa, but Dutch companies now "focus more on doing business with China."

"Africa has great potentials," Mollema claimed.

"On the one hand, we are competitors, on the other hand, we also have to work together," he said, regarding the subtle relations between China and Western world in dealing with Africa.

Source:Xinhua

(Editor:梁军)

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