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Business Council to Promote Sino-African Ties

The China-Africa Business Council (CABC), a joint initiative between the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), the Chinese government and the private-sector China Guangcai Program, was launched yesterday in Beijing. Its purpose is to promote Sino-African trade and investment under the South-South Cooperation (SSC) Framework.


With initial funding of US$1 million, CABC includes China and five African countries (Cameroon, Ghana, Mozambique, Nigeria and Tanzania) in its initial stage. Most of its China members are from the China Guangcai Program, a nongovernmental organization that was established in 1994 by entrepreneurs to promote private-sector investment in poverty-stricken regions of the country. The program now has 14,000 member enterprises.


The three-year CABC project will work alongside government ministries with participation at the Sino-Africa Forum, while simultaneously serving as a practical business tool to assist Chinese and African companies in achieving investment and trade objectives.


As a key public-private partnership to facilitate practically Sino-African ties, the program will help Chinese and African businesses find new markets, partners and opportunities.


It will also foster links between "the largest developing country and the continent with the greatest economic growth potential," said Zephirin Diabre, undersecretary general of the United Nations and associate administrator of the UNDP.


"China has been for many years a strong supporter of South-South cooperation and is also setting an important example by honoring the commitments made by the international community at the Monterey Conference on Financing for Development by reducing or canceling 10.5 billion yuan of debt in favor of 31 African countries," Diabre said.


China has provided support to Africa in such areas as infrastructure development, health, education and agriculture. Diabre said he hoped this assistance would extend to such areas as ensuring food safety, fighting HIV/AIDS and helping African countries reach the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).


Diabre also emphasized the leading role that the private sector plays in long-term poverty alleviation and MDG realization.


Wang Yue, director general of the China International Center for Economic and Technical Exchanges (CICETE), speaking on behalf of the Ministry of Commerce, said the emerging African market offers huge investment opportunities for China's private sector.


Trade between China and Africa is rapidly growing, soaring from only US$2.0 billion in 1999 to US$29.6 billion in 2004.


Huang Mengfu, vice chairman of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) and chairman of All China Federation of Industry and Commerce, said that as the most dynamic sector in China's economy, private businesses are wise to expand to the vast and rich African continent.


(Xinhua PR Newswire March 18, 2005)


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