Chinese government pledges billions to industrialise Africa


21 October 2015

The Chinese government reiterated its commitment to support industrialisation in South Africa and the rest of the African continent by pledging $50-billion (R668- billion) towards industrialisation projects.

According to a press release, the pledge was announced during a courtesy visit by China’s commerce vice-minister, Zhang Xiangchen, to Lionel October, the director-general in the Department of Trade and Industry, in Pretoria this week.

The courtesy visit also focused on the upcoming Forum on China-Africa Co- operation (Focac), which will be hosted in Johannesburg on 4 and 5 December.

Initiatives like these fall in line with South Africa’s National Development Plan that has as its aim an improved country and continent. Its goals are to end poverty and build a strong, resilient and smart economy.

Xiangchen said there were several new measures that the Chinese government was finalising to further promote industrialisation and development of the African continent as a whole.

“China-Africa industrialisation partnerships will be at the forefront of any development in the continent followed by agricultural activities. China will also increase investments in Africa especially in the special economic zones and provide training in those sectors,” said Xiangchen.

His government would provide 50 technical experts in building and upgrading of industrial parks and new power plants, 200 000 industrial managers to train and develop local industrial managers, as well as 40 000 training opportunities in different sectors.

October welcomed the pledge and praised China for its efforts to support the African cause.

China had remained an inspiration to most developing countries, especially those in Africa, for the last forty years, he said. Even though the continent was underdeveloped, summits such as Focac could bring progress in industrialisation.

The first Ministerial Conference of Focac was held in Beijing in October 2000. After that meeting, China cancelled 10.9-billion renminbi (about R23-billion today) of debts for 31 heavily indebted poor countries or least developed countries in Africa.

Source: reporter