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Council promotes Sino-African co-operation
By Jiang Zhuqing (China Daily)
Updated: 2004-11-18 01:31

To promote Sino-African investment and trade, the China-Africa Business Council (CABC) was established Wednesday.

The CABC is the first public-private partnership between the world's largest developing country and the continent. It was jointly established by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the Chinese Government and the Society for the Promotion of the Guangcai Programme.

"The project we are signing here today is a key initiative to help strengthen China-Africa economic links through promotion of Public Private Partnerships," said Khalik Malik, UN resident co-ordinator and UNDP resident representative, at the signing ceremony.

Speaking highly of China's role in South-South co-operation, Malik noted that there are challenges for China's businesses looking for accurate information when they conduct trade and investment in Africa.

"The CABC was created to become a new economic mechanism which will help facilitate information sharing and access, thereby deepening Sino-Africa trade and investment," he said.

Driven by the private sector with public sector support, the CABC will be set up between China and six African nations -- Cameroon, Ghana, Mozambique, Nigeria, South Africa and Tanzania, officials said.

"Political progress has been made between China and Africa within the framework of Sino-Africa Co-operation Forum during the past years," said Wang Yue, director general of China International Centre for Economic and Technical Exchanges (CICETE) under the Ministry of Commerce. "Meanwhile, practical economic co-operation requires co-ordination within enterprise circles from both sides."

Different from other programmes,

the CABC will let non-State-owned enterprises play an important role and "no field limitations will be set on the co-operation between the enterprises," Wang said.

Trade between China and Africa is growing rapidly. Statistics show that the trading volume between the two soared to US$18 billion last year from US$2 billion in 1999.

Officials said that China and Africa are planning to double the 2002 level to reach US$30 billion in the year of 2006.

Under the support of the UN and governments, it is crucial for the CABC programme to arouse the zeal and interest of private companies to reduce poverty through investment, said Hu Deping, vice-president of the Guangcai Programme, which has 14,000 non-State-owned companies as members.

The CABC programme will officially be launched in January 2005 and last until the end of 2007.

"If it turns out that the mechanism works well, the relevant parties involved will certainly seek a further extension," said CICETE Director-General Wang.


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