Sino-African business leaders explore ways of deepening cooperation

2009-11-05 12:04 BJT

Mutual benefit is the underlying theme of this week's China-Africa Business Summit in Cape Town on October 22-23, which saw Sino-African relations enter a new phase of cooperation.

Co-operation and mutual benefit were emphasized right from the opening address by South Africa's Minister of Trade and Industries Rob Davies, who noted how Africa and China both stood to gain from working together.

Dr Rita Cooma, the chief executive of the ICC Council, New York, followed the trend when she chaired a panel discussion on A Universal Model for China-Africa Cooperation.

Participants, from the China-Africa Business Council, the private and public sectors of both regions were enthusiastic about her presentation on "a transferable investment model that maximizes value and investor returns and could benefit African countries."

Such a model would facilitate partnerships and increase collaborations between investors, governments, and African businesses, which in turn would lead to greater access to capital.It was agreed the model should help encourage sustainable development and help preserve the environment.

Dr Martyn Davies, the director of the Center for Chinese Studies at the University of Stellenbosch, South Africa, chaired a panel discussion on Developing Businesses in Africa in Partnership with Chinese investors. Panellists discussed the challenges surrounding the development of businesses in Africa.

Areas covered included availability and access to finance, training, management education, and the empowerment of small and medium sized enterprises in partnerships with Chinese investors. The impact of Chinese investment on businesses and industries across Africa drew attention.

So, too, did building capacity in health-care, power and energy, developing a self-sufficient agricultural sector, sustaining development across sectors of tourism, banking and finance, and mining.

Fruitful discussions were held concerning opportunities for partnerships and collaborations, apprenticeships, joint ventures, secondments between businesses in Africa and China.

In an earlier academic paper, Dr Davies institution had noted: "There is a distinct need to consider what Africa can learn from China's development model, and there exists an opportunity to establish future research collaboration to examine the impact of China's role in regional integration in Africa.

"With South Africa hosting the FIFA Soccer World Cup next year, the first time this prestigious tournament will be held on African soil, there was keen interest in Cape Town this week in both the workshop and the panel discussion on Tourism. Experts, led by Ms Itumeleng Dlamini, International Relations Manager of the 2010 World Cup Organizing Committee, agreed it was important that FIFA 2010 be used to build a lasting legacy that will increase capacity in tourist venues as well as help SMEs and Micro-businesses.

Panellists looked at different ways of enticing holiday-makers into areas such as as eco-tourism. Chinese experts offered to partner with South Africa in building a 2010 legacy by transferring experiences and skills gained from the 2008 Beijing Olympics into the organization and management of the 2010 FIFA World Cup.

In the final panel discussion on mining, mutually beneficial partnership was sought. African participants, led by Lesiba Matlakla, the chairman of Hope African Minerals and Energy Resources Ltd, stressed the importance of projects empowering local communities and bringing new jobs, skills, and confidence to Africa.

All sides agreed that China's involvement in Africa's minerals sector was evolving in a sustainable way. This is the third time a China-Africa Business Summit has been held since the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) was jointly set up by China and Africa.

Editor: Liu Anqi | Source: Xinhua