Friday, February 11, 2011

Africa’s resources central to China - expert

February 9 2011 - Sapa-AFP

Cape Town - Africa's rich natural resources will remain key to China as the Asian giant grows at a more moderate but sustainable pace, an expert on the country told an African mining conference on Tuesday.

“We feel that demand from China is something to rely upon,” said Kobus van der Wath, managing director of consultancy Beijing Axis, adding that China's economic performance was not a “flash in the pan”.

“If anything we will see a more moderate growth rate and therefore more moderate but certainly more sustainable demand.”

China should be viewed as a broad player on the continent, where a lack of infrastructure and capital play to its strengths, he said.

The world's second-biggest economy “comfortably” had outbound investments of more than $50-billion a year but there was greater appetite and ability to invest more, particularly in Africa, he said.

The Chinese, although they are not new, are becoming far more intensive players... and far more assertive in their global aspirations,” Van der Wath told delegates at the Investing in African Mining Indaba conference.

“Raw materials is a big focus for this global expansion and really Africa is also a very big focus.”

“Africa will continue, and developing countries and resource hubs will continue, to be very very important in terms of focus,” said Van der Wath.

Africa drew 14 percent of China's investment last year, he said.