African Development Bank says Sino-African cooperation brings oppotunities

Updated: 2011-09-23 14:21


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PARIS - China's growing role in Africa is not only "substantial" for bilateral trade, but also "complementary" to Africa's traditional partners, according to a new book on Sino-African cooperation released Tuesday by African Development Bank (AfDB).

The book "China and Africa, An Emerging Partnership for Development" challenged the idea that China was the only winner in cooperation with and activities in African continent, by analyzing "opportunities and challenges for both parties."

According to AfDB Vice-President and Chief Economist, Mthuli Ncube, who presented the book, China's activities in Africa are never just exploring and importing natural resources, but played "an important role in providing financing and expertise needed for the continent's development."

The other presenter Richard Schiere, one of the authors and AfDB expert on Sino-African relations, also rebut the idea that China is replacing others in Africa.

"In fact, there are third or nearly 40 percent (of support for African development) that comes from the BRIC countries (emerging markets), of which nearly 30 percent for China. For older donors, there is always a important role to play," he said.

The new book highlighted the complementary action of China's growing role to those of Africa's long-standing traditional development partners, who are still dominant in terms of official development assistance, trade and investment.

"The Bank considers that traditional donors and emerging partners such as China complement each other," a press release from the bank said, adding that it "wishes to leverage Chinese resources and development expertise for the benefit of African economies."

China promised to help establish three to five special economic zones in Africa during the 2006 Beijing Summit of Forum on China-Africa Cooperation.

By the end of June 2011, the enterprises operating in the zones have realized a turnover of $3.53 billion, with growing tax revenues to local governments' fiscal houses, according to Chinese commercial ministry data.

China has been an active investor and trade partner in the continent in recent decades. The book said in 2009, trade flows rose to $93 billion between the two sides, an eight-folds increase in a decade.

According to Chinese official figures, China has invested $40 billion in more than 50 African countries till the end of 2010, benefiting over 2,000 enterprises. In 2010, Chinese firms' direct investment in Africa amounted $2.11 billion, up by 46.8 percent year-on-year.

This new book is the culmination of Bank work in the framework of the "China in Africa" project. It contains contributions by some of the leading experts in China-Africa relations, according to the bank.