Beijing,Aug. 24: The China-Africa Development Fund, CAD Fund, whose role is to finance major Chinese investments in Africa, has so far positively impacted the lives of a million people on the continent since its inauguration in 2007. The institution, which is China’s first and largest equity investment fund with focus on Africa, has in 10 years sponsored 90 projects worth 20 billion US dollars in 36 African nations.
20 billion US Dollars invested in Africa
The disclosure was made in the Chinese capital, Beijing on August 22 during a visit to CAD Fund’s headquarters by 27 African journalists. According to Wang Yong, CAD Fund’s vice president, China’s direct investments in Africa totaled 20 billion US dollars in the past 10 years. Some 2 billion US dollars was generated in local exports, 1 billion US dollars collected as tax revenue, while a million Africans benefitted from the 90 projects.
Wang Yong said his institution was most interested in supporting joint large-scale projects by African and Chinese entrepreneurs. He noted that projects have even been sponsored in African countries that do not have diplomatic relations with China. The CAD Fund vice president said the objective was to boost capacity for self-development in project host countries.
With a capital of 10 billion US dollars, CAD Fund, which is under the China Development Bank, focuses on four main areas – agriculture and livelihoods, energy and minerals, building industrial capacity, and infrastructure development. It has also played a major role in setting up Chinese-driven industrial parks in Africa.
CAD Fund projects are guided by the principle of development finance and are also based on requests by African countries. It offers both financing and consulting services to Chinese companies investing in Africa. “CAD Fund is always more than willing to provide support for projects from governments, institutions and companies in Africa to realize our win-win goals,” Wang Yong stated.
Jiang Lin, CAD Fund deputy director general in charge of operations management, said the institution was created in June 2007 because of China’s confidence in Africa, the continent’s great potentials, large youth population, consuming middle class numbering 370 million, and annual economic growth of 2 per cent. As Africa’s largest trade partner, Chinese investments on the continent are expected to hit 100 billion US dollars by 2020, Jiang Lin predicted.
In order to ease operations on the field, CAD Fund maintains five regional offices in Africa – Ethiopia, Ghana, Zambia, Kenya and South Africa. Unlike commercial banks that only fund projects, CAD Fund also participates in the management of the projects it finances. Jiang Lin said CAD Fund does not only bring capital, but also foreign enterprises and technology to make projects more sustainable.
Comprehensive strategic partnership
Chinese President Xi Jinping in 2013 chose Africa for his first foreign trip since coming to power. He used the occasion to present sincerity, real results, affinity and good faith as guidelines for China’s African policy. Premier Li Keqiang in 2014 visited Africa and drew the blueprint for China-Africa cooperation.
At the 2015 FOCAC summit in Johannesburg, South Africa, President Xi proposed that the China-Africa strategic partnership be upgraded to a comprehensive strategic and cooperative partnership. He then put forward China’s cooperation plans, thus marking the beginning of a new phase in China-Africa relations, Wang Yong said.
*Kimeng Hilton Ndukong, a contributor to People’s Daily Online, is Sub-Editor for World News with Cameroon Tribune bilingual daily newspaper in Cameroon. He is currently a 2017 China-Africa Press Centre, CAPC fellow.