NAIROBI, Kenya, April 15 – Massive injection of capital from China into Africa’s economies is hastening the realization of the continent’s transformation agenda and pandemic recovery, experts said on Thursday.
The experts, who spoke at the virtual forum organized by the China Business Studies Initiative (CBSI) affiliated with the University of San Francisco in the United States, said that African countries should leverage investments from the Asian nation to realize socio-economic transformation.
Marco Tavanti, an international development scholar said that Chinese investments combined with soft power have fuelled a more equitable and inclusive economic growth in Africa.
“The presence of Chinese companies in Africa has revolutionized development and bilateral cooperation with the continent,” said Tavanti.
“China represents a crucial source of foreign direct investments (FDI) in Africa and it also pushes forward the idea of neutrality and non-interference with decision-making processes of partner nations,” he added.
More than 200 participants including policymakers, scholars and development experts attended the virtual forum titled “Examining China’s Investments in African Nations: Promises and Influence”.
The experts agreed that China-Africa cooperation in diverse spheres like trade, culture, health, education and technology has reshaped the global balance of power.
Beatrice Matiri-Maisori, a Kenyan business development expert said that China’s footprint in Africa has moved beyond infrastructure development to cover key areas like health, academic exchanges, manufacturing and ICT.
“We have seen China become a favorite destination for African youth keen to pursue further studies besides building our industrial capacity and health systems,” said Matiri-Maisori.
She said that African countries have borrowed best practices from China in their quest to realize aspirations contained in Agenda 2063 including connectivity, green growth and social renewal.
“When we hear that China has achieved zero poverty, it is an experience that Africa would like to learn from and apply in its own unique circumstance,” said Matiri-Maisori.
“We believe in multilateralism and China represents what can be done in a short time for an integrated Africa,” she added.
Matiri-Maisori said that other lessons Africa would like to learn from China includes urban renewal, the establishment of thriving industrial zones, harnessing renewable energy and ICT to power green growth.
“We are looking at a post-pandemic recovery and there is strength in partnership with China,” said Matiri-Maisori.
Peter Ping Li, an international business scholar said that Chinese firms have managed to establish a large footprint in the African market thanks to agility, innovation and ability to connect with local consumers.
He singled out Transsion, a Chinese mobile phone company, for its seamless penetration in the African market linked to innovative branding, prudent supply chain management and regular interaction with clients.
Motolani Agbebi, a researcher and human resource expert said that China’s investments in Africa have achieved strategic objectives for both sides including job creation and enhanced bilateral trade.
“In economic sense, China is a viable development partner for Africa. We will continue to witness China strengthen its economic, diplomatic and cultural ties with Africa,” said Agbebi.
She said that China is a beneficial and not a malign actor in Africa, adding that the medical supplies donated by the Asian Nation including vaccines have boosted the COVID-19 war in the continent.