On the second day of CAETE, June 28, two events were held specifically for investment and trade promotion. The Investment Promotion Conference for African Countries featured the six guest countries of honor: Angola, Egypt, Côte d’Ivoire, Senegal, Tanzania and Uganda. Officials from these countries gave in-depth introduction on investment opportunities and policy initiatives to attract potential investors.
In the China-Africa Economic and Trade Cooperation Conference, 230 representatives from African governments and enterprises encountered 490 representatives from Chinese government and enterprises and engaged in one-on-one conversation to explore possibilities of partnerships. The conference also saw the signing of 9 projects, including the aluminum industry in Guinea, an industrial project in Ghana and a road upgrade project in Côte d’Ivoire, totalling 6.3 billion dollars.
Advertising for investment
In the Investment Promotion Conference for African Countries, every guest country of honor had a minister giving speech and an official responsible for investment promotion presenting detailed information. Each came with well-prepared material, and some even used mobile applications to assist their presentations. Mohamed, director of the GAFI Investment Promotion Agency showed the Egypt Investment Map, marking all the investment opportunities. He mentioned that the map was also available on the Internet and could be accessed using mobile phones. (The online-map is quite interactive. See https://www.investinegypt.gov.eg/english/pages/default.aspx)
Tourism was used as an entry point for investment promotion by many officials. Matia Kasaija, Minister of the Uganda Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development said half-jokingly: “come to Uganda if you would like to see leopards on trees.” As Joseph Leon Simbakalia, Director General, Export Processing Zones Authority concluded his speech: “we hope that you come the first time as a tourist, the second time as an investor.” While it takes more than beautiful scenery and wildlife of wonder to make investment decisions, tourism can certainly be one of the windows through which Chinese and other people outside the Africa get to know the continent. The Egyptian Minister of Tourism Rania Al-Mashat also stressed how tourism could contribute to the local economy: the tourist sector gives rise to 15% of Egyptian GDP and employs over two million people.
Exchanges at zero distance
The China-Africa Economic and Trade Cooperation Conference, though named this way, bore no resemblance toward regular conferences. This event, where hundreds of African and Chinese representatives gathered in the hall, allowed them to approach each other freely and to carry out trade and investment negotiations real-time. Movements of the participants and lively discussions filled the hall with actions. As a participant from the Aquaculture Development Association of Zambia attested, this form of one-on-one negotiation improved efficiency, and it was a great opportunity to meet potential Chinese investor. The minister of Côte d’Ivoire Commerce, Industry and SME Promotion Souleymane Diarrassouba took the chance to continue his investment promotion, emphasizing that Côte d’Ivoire was the world’s number one producer of cocoa beans and cashew nuts, and that they were eager to find investment to upgrade Côte d’Ivoire’s capacity of raw material processing.
Ruoyu Chen, NYU Business and Political Economy
China-Africa Stories Contributor
Written from sources: