"Investing in Africa" is no longer simply a slogan proposed by the Chinese government. It now represents real dollars-and-cents business opportunities.
Statistics show that China had invested US$11.7 billion in Africa by the end of 2006 and is now the largest investor among developing countries.
A considerable amount of the investment comes from companies, especially private firms.
For example, private firms from China's southeast Zhejiang Province invested US$55.7 million in Africa in 2005.
Of the 800 enterprises that have invested in Africa, only about 100 are state-run companies.
More than 230 Chinese enterprises and joint ventures, such as Geely, Chery and Huawei, have started operating in Egypt.
Huawei, China's largest private telecoms company, provides services and products in more than 40 African countries and regions with sales totaling US$2.1 billion in 2006.
For state-owned enterprises, there has been a massive change.
"In the past, investing in Africa was a way of developing friendship," said Yang Deshan, vice president of China Building-Material Industrial Corporation for Foreign Econo-Technical Cooperation (CBMC).
"Now it means real economic benefits for both sides," he said, adding that the CBMC will invest US$50 million to build a cement factory in Cape Verde.
"This project will be carried out according to commercial rules," Yang said. "In the past a lot of projects were transferred to African countries for free."
As they accumulate capital and forex reserves, China's private firms will invest more in Africa, said governor of People's Bank of China Zhou Xiaochuan.
(Xinhua News Agency May 16, 2007)