China-africa Co­op­er­a­tion Pushes For­ward In­dus­tri­al­iza­tion in Africa

China-africa Co­op­er­a­tion

China Pictorial (English) - - Contents - Text by He Wen­ping

Pro­duc­tion ca­pac­ity co­op­er­a­tion be­tween China and Africa con­forms to the de­vel­op­men­tal needs of both sides.

At the re­cently con­cluded 10th BRICS sum­mit in Jo­han­nes­burg, South Africa, the theme “BRICS in Africa: Col­lab­o­ra­tion for In­clu­sive Growth and Shared Pros­per­ity in the 4th In­dus­trial Revo­lu­tion” was pro­duced. This makes ref­er­ences to key words in­clud­ing “in­dus­trial revo­lu­tion” and “Africa’s in­dus­tri­al­iza­tion.” Can Africa be­come the world’s fu­ture fac­tory? Can Africa trans­form its re­source en­dow­ment into “made in Africa” de­vel­op­men­tal ad­van­tages? What role will China-africa co­op­er­a­tion play in the con­ti­nent’s in­dus­tri­al­iza­tion? These are vi­tal ques­tions re­lated to Africa’s fu­ture de­vel­op­ment.

Vi­sion and Ac­tion

Clearly, in­dus­tri­al­iza­tion is an im­por­tant foun­da­tion for a coun­try’s mod­ern­iza­tion as well as the in­evitable course a coun­try must take to pro­mote eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment. Africa, home to abun­dant nat­u­ral re­sources and gifted with a de­mo­graphic ad­van­tage, is un­der­go­ing a long in­dus­tri­al­iza­tion process full of twists and turns. Af­ter suf­fer­ing chronic colo­nial rule and a lack of eco­nomic struc­tural di­ver­sity, in­dus­tri­al­iza­tion in most African coun­tries con­tin­ues to lag and re­mains at ba­sic lev­els. Africa’s in­dus­trial out­put ac­counts for less than 3 per­cent of the world’s to­tal. Al­though the con­ti­nent is still in the early stages of in­dus­tri­al­iza­tion, many African coun­tries set in­dus­tri­al­iza­tion as an im­por­tant eco­nomic goal when they first achieved in­de­pen­dence. African lead­ers as­pire to es­cape eco­nomic de­pen­dency on their for­mer colo­nial masters, shift away from highly de­pen­dent eco­nomic struc­tures and seize eco­nomic in­de­pen­dence and au­ton­o­mous de­vel­op­ment in the realest sense.

In the 21st cen­tury, against the back­drop of eco­nomic glob­al­iza­tion, African coun­tries are tak­ing ac­tions to em­brace and pro­mote in­dus­tri­al­iza­tion even more en­thu­si­as­ti­cally. In suc­ces­sion, African coun­tries and the African Union have is­sued im­por­tant doc­u­ments on de­vel­op­ment strate­gies in­clud­ing The­new Part­ner­ship for Africa’sde­vel­op­ment (2001), Ac­cel­er­ated In­dus­trial De­vel­op­ment in Africa (2008), Pro­gram for In­fras­truc­ture De­vel­op­ment in Africa (2013) and African Agenda

2063 (2013). Africa aims to re­al­ize ma­jor de­vel­op­ment dur­ing the 21st cen­tury through in­dus­tri­al­iza­tion and eco­nomic in­te­gra­tion. Fu­el­ing De­vel­op­ment

Pro­duc­tion ca­pac­ity co­op­er­a­tion be­tween China and Africa con­forms to the de­vel­op­men­tal needs of both sides. A solid foun­da­tion for such co­op­er­a­tion has al­ready been laid. Af­ter four decades since China started its re­form and open­ing up, the coun­try has en­tered the mid­dle and late stages of in­dus­tri­al­iza­tion, so it pos­sesses de­vel­op­ment cap­i­tal, ap­pro­pri­ate tech­nolo­gies and equip­ment and abun­dant ex­pe­ri­ence in trans­form­ing an agri­cul­tural coun­try into a global fac­tory. Be­cause China is driv­ing eco­nomic re­struc­tur­ing and up­grad­ing to a deeper level, a large amount of pro­duc­tion ca­pac­ity and tech­nol­ogy needs to be mi­grated. Most African coun­tries, still at the ini­tial stage of in­dus­tri­al­iza­tion, are in great de­mand of prod­ucts such as steel and ce­ment. How­ever, most of these prod­ucts need to be im­ported. Con­se­quently, these African coun­tries would ben­e­fit greatly from tak­ing pro­duc­tion ca­pac­ity from China to ac­cel­er­ate their re­spec­tive in­dus­tri­al­iza­tion pro­cesses. Con­di­tions for his­toric China-africa pro­duc­tion ca­pac­ity co­op­er­a­tion are ripe.

Gov­ern­ments and en­ter­prises from both sides also strongly sup­port and pro­mote China-africa pro­duc­tion ca­pac­ity co­op­er­a­tion. Dur­ing their vis­its to Africa in 2013 and 2014, re­spec­tively, both Chi­nese Pres­i­dent Xi Jin­ping and Chi­nese Premier Li Ke­qiang pro­posed de­vel­op­ment goals of “build­ing three net­works and pro­mot­ing in­dus­tri­al­iza­tion” for Africa. China will aid Africa’s con­struc­tion of “three net­works,” namely rail­way, high­way and re­gional aviation net­works, and help drive in­dus­tri­al­iza­tion in Africa. African coun­tries also ex­pect to strengthen

in­dus­trial co­op­er­a­tion with China as the lat­ter has launched a new round of in­dus­trial re­struc­tur­ing. They hope to pro­mote in­dus­trial de­vel­op­ment and re­al­ize tech­no­log­i­cal progress by ab­sorb­ing China’s pro­duc­tion ca­pac­ity.

At the 2015 Jo­han­nes­burg Sum­mit of the Fo­rum on China-africa Co­op­er­a­tion (FO­CAC), Chi­nese Pres­i­dent Xi Jin­ping an­nounced ten ma­jor co­op­er­a­tion plans with Africa, to­tal­ing US$60 bil­lion in fund­ing sup­port. The plans cov­ered co­op­er­a­tion on in­dus­tri­al­iza­tion, agri­cul­tural mod­ern­iza­tion, in­fras­truc­ture, fi­nance, green de­vel­op­ment, trade and in­vest­ment fa­cil­i­ta­tion, poverty re­duc­tion, public health, cul­tural and peo­ple-to-peo­ple ex­changes, peace and se­cu­rity. Of these plans, China-africa in­dus­trial co­op­er­a­tion, es­pe­cially pro­duc­tion ca­pac­ity co­op­er­a­tion be­tween China and Africa and the pro­mo­tion of in­dus­tri­al­iza­tion in Africa, was item­ized most promi­nently. To en­sure a suc­cess­ful im­ple­men­ta­tion of the in­dus­trial co­op­er­a­tion plan, an ini­tial con­tri­bu­tion of US$10 bil­lion was des­ig­nated for the China-africa pro­duc­tion ca­pac­ity co­op­er­a­tion fund. An in­crease of US$5 bil­lion went to both the China-africa De­vel­op­ment Fund and the Spe­cial Loans to Sup­port Small and Medium-sized En­ter­prises in Africa.

Early Har­vests

Thanks to tire­less ef­forts in re­cent years, China-africa pro­duc­tion ca­pac­ity co­op­er­a­tion has al­ready pro­duced fruits. Since the 2006 Bei­jing Sum­mit of FO­CAC, China has es­tab­lished six eco­nomic and trade co­op­er­a­tion zones in five African coun­tries: the Ethiopia-based Eastern In­dus­try Zone, Lekki Free Trade Zone in Nige­ria, Zam­bia-china Eco­nomic and Trade Co­op­er­a­tion Zone, Nige­ria Ogun Guang­dong Free Trade Zone, Mau­ri­tius Jin­fei Eco­nomic Trade and Co­op­er­a­tion Zone and Suez Eco­nomic and Trade Co­op­er­a­tion Zone. Nearly 100 in­dus­trial parks jointly built by China and African coun­tries are now ei­ther un­der con­struc­tion or in op­er­a­tion in Africa. By the end of 2017, the to­tal stock of Chi­nese in­vest­ment in Africa ex­ceeded US$100 bil­lion and 3,500-plus Chi­nese en­ter­prises were in­vest­ing and op­er­at­ing in Africa. These Chi­nese en­ter­prises launched new projects in Africa, pro­vid­ing new space for the con­ti­nent’s de­vel­op­ment as well as for their own busi­ness trans­for­ma­tion.

On Jan­uary 27, 2015, China signed a mem­o­ran­dum of un­der­stand­ing with the African Union on in­fras­truc­ture con­struc­tion co­op­er­a­tion. Ac­cord­ing to the doc­u­ment, China would, within the frame­work of African Agenda 2063, en­hance co­op­er­a­tion with African coun­tries in fields such as rail­ways, high­ways, re­gional aviation and in­dus­tri­al­iza­tion as part of a bid to ac­cel­er­ate the eco­nomic in­te­gra­tion of Africa. Early progress has al­ready been achieved in the first group of African coun­tries in­clud­ing Tan­za­nia and Ethiopia, which have car­ried out pro­duc­tion ca­pac­ity co­op­er­a­tion with China.

Tan­za­nia presents a prime ex­am­ple. One of the first African coun­tries to carry out pro­duc­tion ca­pac­ity co­op­er­a­tion with China, Tan­za­nia signed a frame­work agree­ment with China on April 28, 2015. The core of Tan­za­nia’s cur­rent fiveyear de­vel­op­ment plan tar­gets in­dus­tri­al­iza­tion, with an eye on ac­com­plish­ing con­nec­tiv­ity on pro­duc­tion ca­pac­ity co­op­er­a­tion with China. In 2009, Tan­za­nia be­gan con­struct­ing ex­port pro­cess­ing zones to at­tract for­eign in­vest­ment, ex­pand ex­ports, cre­ate jobs and en­hance pro­duc­tion tech­nolo­gies and eco­nomic man­age­ment level by de­vel­op­ing ex­port-ori­ented in­dus­tries. So far, 12 Chi­nese en­ter­prises have set­tled in these ex­port pro­cess­ing zones.

Two im­por­tant sec­tors of China-africa pro­duc­tion ca­pac­ity co­op­er­a­tion — in­fras­truc­ture co­op­er­a­tion and in­dus­trial park con­struc­tion — are rolling full-speed ahead in Africa to­day. China has helped Africa build many rail­ways, in­clud­ing the Mombasa-nairobi rail­way that con­nects the Kenyan cap­i­tal of Nairobi with the port city Mombasa and the Ethiopia-dji­bouti rail­way which links Ethiopian cap­i­tal Ad­dis Ababa to the port of Dji­bouti, in ad­di­tion to more rail­ways now un­der con­struc­tion in An­gola and Nige­ria. “The foun­da­tions we lay to­day will lead us to a new chap­ter of in­dus­tri­al­iza­tion,” de­clared Kenyan Pres­i­dent Uhuru Keny­atta at the open­ing cer­e­mony for the Mombasa-nairobi rail­way on May 31, 2017.

The Mombasa-nairobi rail­way con­nect­ing the Kenyan cap­i­tal of Nairobi with the port city Mombasa be­gan op­er­a­tion on May 31, 2017. Con­structed by China Road and Bridge Cor­po­ra­tion with a to­tal in­vest­ment of US$3.8 bil­lion, the 480-kilo­me­ter-long rail­way is the largest in­fras­truc­ture project since Kenya gained in­de­pen­dence in 1963. VCG

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