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Forum opens doors to African investment

By Chen Yingqun ( chinadaily.com.cn )

Updated: 2014-11-03

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Qingdao leads the way in introducing Chinese entrepreneurs to opportunities on continent

Ethiopia has made great strides in improving its investment environment to attract Chinese investors, says Abebe Tadesse Duressa, minister counselor of the Ethiopian embassy in Beijing.

"Ethiopia is ready and open for business," he says. "Opportunities include extensive land, adequate water resources, suitable climate, diverse agro-ecology and a lot of livestock for those wishing to invest in agriculture, industry and industrial parks."

Duressa was addressing hundreds of Chinese entrepreneurs at the opening ceremony of a symposium on investing in Africa, in Qingdao, Shandong province, on Oct 30.

The one-day forum has been held for the past five years, and African officials are invited to attend it and meet those interested in investing in Africa.

Wang Xiaoyong, secretary-general of the China-Africa Business Council, says Qingdao has become one of the most important private forces of investment in Africa, and many entrepreneurs are keen to know more about Africa.

Forum opens doors to African investment

Wang Xiaoyong, secretary-general of the China-Africa Business Council, delivers a speech at the opening ceremony of a symposium on investing in Africa in Qingdao on Oct 30. Provided to China Daily

Last year, trade between China and Africa reached more than $200 billion, and about 200 companies in Qingdao do business with Africa, the business council says.

Duressa says Ethiopia, whose GDP has grown at an average of 10.6 percent a year over the past decade, has a good manufacturing base, and its steel, textile and automotive industries have attracted many Chinese companies.

The country also has competitive incentive packages for business and policies conducive to investment in manufacturing, he says, and many companies from China in textiles, footwear, steel and the automotive industry have relocated to Ethiopia.

The country has also adopted policies aimed at improving the environment, Duressa says.

Institutional reform is ongoing with pro-investment policies on building infrastructure, developing human capital, setting up industrial zones, and measures to fight corruption, he says.

Wang Yanyun, director of the Qingdao office of the Yikai Group, located in Zibo, Shandong, which has exported agricultural equipment to African countries, including Algeria, Cameroon and Nigeria, says she has gained many opportunities at the forum, and she was looking forward to face-to-face talks with Ethiopia officials.

Entrepreneurs and officials will also visit several Qingdao companies that have done well in Africa.