March 13, 2018 By Joseph S. Margai in Beijing
Minister of Commerce of the People’s Republic of China, Zhong Shan, has disclosed that China has doled some ten billion United States Dollars (US$10bn) to Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in Africa.
Minister Zhong Shan made the disclosure at a presser held at the Media Centre Sunday (11 March) in Beijing on the sidelines of the First Session of China’s 13th National People’ Congress (NPC), the country’s national legislature.
The Chinese Minister of Commerce recalled that on December 4, 2015 President Xi Jinping announced in Johannesburg during the summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) that China would roll out ten major plans to boost cooperation with Africa in three years’ time.
“The ten major plans cover industrialisation, agricultural modernisation, infrastructure, financial services, green development, trade and investment facilitation, poverty reduction and public welfare, public health, people-to-people exchanges, and peace and security,” he recalled.
Mr. Shan stated that to ensure smooth implementation of the 10 major plans, President Xi announced at FOCAC that China will offer sixty billion United States Dollars (US$60bn) of funding support, including five billion dollars (US$5bn) of free aid and interest-free loans, thirty-five billion dollars (US$35bn) of preferential loans and export credit on more favourable terms, five billion dollars (US$5bn) of additional capital for the China-Africa Development Fund and the Special Loan for the Development of African SMEs each, and a China-Africa production capacity cooperation fund with the initial capital of ten billion dollars (US$10bn).
He said China has signed a number of deals with countries, especially those in Africa.
He revealed that there were about seven hundred billion dollars (US$700bn) Chinese investments in a number of countries and that those investments have provided three thousand, three hundred (3,300) jobs for local communities where these investments are.
He cited one of the major investments in Africa -the railway- which has been constructed between Addis Ababa and Djibouti, among others.
He said the railway investment has helped ease transport constraints and facilitate easy movements of people, goods, and other essential services.
“We have been inviting officials in many African countries to China in order to have comprehensive dialogue. We also have the Belt and Road Initiative and the African strategy which has been going on smoothly. The African strategy will focus on many things, but most especially, Africa’s ability to grow by itself,” he said.
He said they have been training young people from Africa in China with relevant skills to help alleviate poverty for all Africans.
Minister Shan said the China International Import Expo (CIIE) will be hosted in Shanghai in November, 2018.
“This is the first exhibition in the world themed on import and a great endeavour in the history of world trade. It opens a platform of open cooperation for countries around the world to display their achievements in national development and conduct international trade,” he said.
He revealed that enterprises from 100 countries and regions are expected to participate in the first CIIE, adding that it is expected that 150,000 domestic and foreign professional purchasers will participate in the CIIE.
He said the booth area is 20 percent larger than their initial plan which gives unique opportunity for all to participate.
The Chinese Commerce Minister said there will be Expo fees exemption for least developing countries in the world that want to participate in this year’s CIIE.