Op-Ed Contributors

Working for shared prosperity

By Yuan Wu (China Daily)
Updated: 2010-07-26 08:27
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Chinese enterprises in Africa have greatly helped improve its infrastructure and provided employment opportunities

Even though China failed to qualify for the 19th World Cup in South Africa, it managed to mark its presence through a green energy enterprise, whose advertisements were widely showcased during the first-ever football tourney in the African continent.

During its sponsorship of the month-long event, Yingli Green Energy Holding Company Ltd, brought the Asian nation under the spotlight of a global audience by being the first from China to qualify for an advertisement spot in the stadiums during the tournament.

The Yingli Solar logo was displayed on electronic perimeter-boards for 30 seconds at a time, or eight minutes each game in Chinese as well as English, during all of its 64 games. The Chinese company was also allowed to showcase its green energy products near the stadiums.

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Yingli Solar's World Cup sponsorship may have given Africans a fresh opportunity to learn about China, but a large number of other enterprises from the country are already there, contributing enormously to the economic and social development of the underdeveloped continent.

Statistics show that Sino-African cooperation contributed more than 20 percent to Africa's economic growth in recent years. As enterprises have replaced sovereign nations to become Africa's main investor, China's investment in the continent has also become increasingly diversified.

Currently, there are more than 2,180 Chinese enterprises engaged in nearly 8,000 projects - covering power, port, airport, highway, hospital, and solar and wind power projects - in Africa.

Given the comparatively adverse investment environment in Africa, most Chinese enterprises based there have encountered a series of difficulties. Yet, to realize their Africa dreams, these entrepreneurs have tried to overcome these problems resolutely and been successful in jointly developing the region with the host countries.

However, certain Western media outlets, which have turned a blind eye to the great contributions made by Chinese enterprises to local economic and social development, have gone all out to defame their image. Their slander has mainly focused on Chinese enterprises' alleged lack of effort to localize their staff, undertake social responsibility endeavors and do more to protect the local environment.

All Western vilifications, however, have been completely contrary to the facts. Take staff localization. Many Chinese enterprises in Africa employ more than 60 percent of staff from local regions.

David Shinn, a former US ambassador to Ethiopia and Burkina Faso, too has talked about the high degree of staff localization done by Chinese enterprises.

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