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Non-governmental China-Africa forum to open Monday
By Chen Weihua (China Daily Shanghai Bureau)
Updated: 2009-09-25 21:36

SHANGHAI: A non-governmental forum on China-Africa investment to be held in the city next week aims to tap business opportunities and overcome obstacles presented by the global economic recession.

The Touchroad 2009 China-Africa Investment Forum, to be unveiled in the Shanghai International Convention Center from September 28-29, will draw businesspeople, government officials and experts from China and 41 African countries, according to He Lielui, chairman of Touchroad International Holdings Group, the organizer of the event.

It is the second such forum held by Touchroad. The first one held in March 2008 was attended by 500 Chinese entrepreneurs and 18 African government and business delegations. Preliminary deals were struck for more than 30 projects.

He, who has been working in African trade for 10 years and whose companies operate in several African countries, said there are lots of opportunities in the African continent. Touchroad now operates manufacturing, mining and trading entities in Africa. It is also working on a huge China-Botswana economic cooperation zone in the African continent.

"Economic cooperation and trade between China and Africa has grown by leaps and bounds over the past few years," Vice Minister of Commerce Chen Jian said at an international investment and trade fair in Xiamen, Fujian province, on September 8.

"Areas of cooperation have been expanded and more Chinese businesses are investing in Africa, with projects in 49 African states," Chen said.

Trade between China and Africa had enjoyed an average annual growth of 32 percent from 2000 to 2008. In the first half of this year, indirect investment from China in Africa reached US$550 million, up a hefty 80 percent over the same period last year.

He Liehui of Touchroad believes that the non-governmental forum is a good supplement to some existing governmental summits and forums between China and Africa.