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Council helps increase China investment in Africa

Xinhua | Updated: 2013-08-20 11:13

JOHANNESBURG -- Although China is well ahead of the "game" in terms of working and investing in Africa, the BRICS Business Council (BBC) can be a good "extra" body to advance China investments, a top South Africa investment and international relations expert said on Monday.

In an interview with Xinhua in Johannesburg, Director of Pretoria-based North American International School (NAIS) Scott Firsing said the council can add value to the Forum on China- Africa Cooperation (FOCAC).

"Moreover, it will help Chinese companies not only see the possibilities within Africa, but with Brazil, India and Russia as well," Firsing said as the BBC kicked off its first meeting in Johannesburg.

The council, established at the BRICS Summit in Durban in March, is designed to serve as a platform to strengthen economic, trade, business and investment ties among the business communities of the five BRICS countries and Africa.

BRICS is an acronym for the powerful grouping of the world's leading emerging market economies, namely Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.

"The meeting is important to confirm and nail down exactly the goals and objectives of the council," Firsing noted.

He said the meeting was also important to ensure that proper planning is in place so as to push forward initiatives "rather than just being another talk shop."

The council must speak with one, authoritative voice in order to make the necessary changes that are important to the business sector, said Firsing, who is also the CEO of Link Advisory, a consultancy firm helping American businesses enter Africa.

The council should play a key role in connecting BRICS governments and business because the business community understands what works and what doesn't in regards to policy and regulations.

"Often there is this disconnect between government and business, and this Council can help fill this void."

Firsing also urged South Africa to use the council to involve as many young innovative entrepreneurs as possible in order for them to seize the networking opportunities and learn from their elders to ensure that the country continue to prosper in years to come.

In addition to representatives from BRICS countries, prominent business leaders from 19 other African countries are attending the meeting.

South African President Jacob Zuma will address the meeting on Tuesday.

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