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China urges companies to process raw materials in Africa

June 1, 2018

By Joseph S. Margai in Beijing, China

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Ministry of Commerce’s Director General of Western Asian and African Affairs, Jiang Wei

In order to add value to some of the raw materials that are obtained in Africa by the Chinese, the Chinese government, through the Ministry of Commerce, has urged all Chinese companies operating in the continent to process raw materials in Africa.

Speaking to African journalists on Wednesday, 30th May at the Ministry of Commerce in Beijing, Jiang Wei, Director General of Western Asian and African Affairs, said they have been urging Chinese companies that are obtaining raw materials in Africa to process them in the continent.

The Chinese official noted that if raw materials were processed in Africa the cost of processing would be minimised than processing them out of Africa and that it would boost the economies of African countries.

He added that locals would be employed, taxes levied, standards of living significantly improved, and increased flow of money in those countries.

He said Africa has lot of minerals and energy resources, thus making the continent a “big market” for Chinese investors.

Jiang Wei added that even though minerals remain the main products that China import from Africa, cocoa, coffee and some fruits are also imported.

He disclosed that Chinese investors are sometimes confronted with the issues of unstable political situations, lack of security, dearth of industrial support, government inefficiency in the area of supporting foreign investors, among other challenges, in Africa.

He recalled that after the 2015 Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) summit in Johannesburg, South Africa, Chinese President Xi Jinping pledged 60 billion United States Dollars to implement projects in Africa.

“The US$60 billion has been given to African countries in the forms of aids through the China-Africa Funds, commercial and soft loans, investments in the areas of roads, railways, disease control and surveillance, among other interventions,” he said.

Jiang said the trade volume between China and Africa has reached US$170 billion, adding that the amount is not the highest the Chinese government hopes for, albeit it is 15 times higher than the amount they had in the year 2000.

“There had been positive changes in the trade structure between China and Africa as China exports lot of goods on daily basis to Africa. Most of these goods are of quality with improved technology in them. The daily Chinese direct investment in Africa has reached US$3 billion. There are investments in roads, transportation, agriculture, among others,” he revealed.

He added that in 2016, the total Chinese investments in Africa reached US$40 billion.

“The Chinese believed that if one wants to be rich, one must construct roads. In this light, the Chinese government has prioritised the construction and improvement of roads in Africa so as to enable Africans to be rich,” he explained.

He assured Africans that the Chinese government is committed to providing support in solving the problems of trade and economic issues in the continent, through the China-Africa Trade and Economic Cooperation.

“African countries are the solid foundation for China’s diplomacy. Africa’s support in reinstating China’s position in the United Nations has always been appreciated by the Chinese government. So, China is committed to ensure that there is win-win cooperation between us,” he said.