Sunday, April 25, 2010

Listen to Interview: Egyptian minister lauds China's role in African development

April 13, 2010

Egyptian Minister of Investment Mahmoud Mohieddin on Monday lauded China's role in investment and development in Africa.

In an interview with Xinhua on the sidelines of the 3rd Common Market of East and South Africa (COMESA) Investment Forum held here, Mohieddin said China's participation in the COMESA forum as well as its presence in the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation ( FOCAC), reflected its efforts in the diversification of its investment in the continent.

The 3rd COMESA forum kicked off on Monday in the Egyptian coastal resort of Sharm el-Sheikh, where the fourth ministerial meeting of FOCAC was also held last November.

"The conference (of FOCAC), which this hall witnessed few months ago... confirms that the Chinese side is much interested in the diversification of its investments outside the oil prospect domain and in having industrial zones and vistas of training and financing that supports development. This is what Egypt applauds and supports," the minister said.

The Egyptian minister called on China to diversify its investments in various development projects of an added value.

"What is needed in this regard is to have a diversity of added the investments in the fields of energy and mining, in the projects of high added value, in agriculture and agricultural industry," the minister said.

Mohieddin expressed his optimism over the participation of China and other investors to get COMESA countries to work together in promoting region infrastructure projects to materialize some specific projects, especially in road networks, electricity grids and links through transport lines between the different ends of the COMESA.

"I think we can get some projects on the way and there are a few of them which have been prepared adequately for a while. More than 40 projects have been presented by Egypt, and a few of them are with regional dimension," said Mohieddin.

According to Zheng Zhijie, deputy chief of China Development Bank (CDB), China has granted 2.4 billion U.S. dollars of loans to Africa through CDB so far, and the bank, together with other Chinese investors, will arrange more loans for African development under the framework of FOCAC.

"Under the win-win principle, China Development Bank will support development programs of Africa through loans and on- lending in the future," said Zheng.

In the FOCAC ministerial meeting last November, Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao proposed eight new measures to further China-Africa cooperation, including a one-billion-U.S. dollar special loan for small and medium-sized African businesses.

"I am very optimistic to see that happening, given there is very big and significant presence by the private sector and by investment funds, not just from the traditional sources of investment from Europe and the United States, but from Turkey, China, India," Mohieddin said.

The two-day COMESA Investment Forum aimed to lure investments to the member states of the regional bloc. The forum addresses key investment opportunities on the sectors relevant to the region and Africa as a whole including investment in infrastructure, agro- processing, renewable energy, financial services and tourism.