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GENEVA, July 12 (Xinhua) -- Chinese Internet entrepreneur Jack Ma is to team up with the United Nations (UN) trade and development agency head Mukhisa Kituyi in co-hosting meetings in East Africa to promote entrepreneurship and small business among young people.

Ma is the founder and executive chairman of Alibaba Group, China's e-commerce giant. Ma is also special advisor of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) for youth entrepreneurship and small businesses.

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He will land in Africa for the first time later this month on his new mission, UNCTAD said in a statement on Wednesday.

UNCTAD Secretary-General Kituyi and Ma are to share entrepreneurial insights with African youth and small businesses during a visit to the region between July 19 and 21 that will include stopovers in Kenya and Rwanda.

The UN agency said the goal of the tour was to "empower young African young entrepreneurs and small businesses."

Ma was appointed UNCTAD special advisor in 2016.

The first meeting will take place at the University of Nairobi where Ma and Kituyi will hold a "conversation" with 500 young business leaders to be followed by a meeting with the local press.

On July 21, they will talk to young people in the Rwandan capital of Kigali before meeting with political leaders.

NAIROBI, July 11 (Xinhua) -- Chinese tech giant Huawei said Tuesday it has partnered with British money transfer service operator WorldRemit to enable African expatriates to send money home to millions of subscribers of Huawei's mobile money service platform across Africa.

The deal will enable Huawei to add a ready-made solution for remittances -- a growing mobile money product offering -- to its existing suite of services.

China Huawei and Britain

"International remittance is a very important mobile money service in Africa, and our partnership with WorldRemit will bring international remittances directly to Huawei's customers across the continent," David Chen, VP of Huawei Southern Africa said in a statement.

"Huawei is committed to providing advanced mobile money platforms and technologies to global mobile money operators," Chen said.

By enabling WorldRemit to connect to over 100 million mobile accounts currently using Huawei's platform, the deal is said to improve access to mobile money remittance for millions of people.

WorldRemit is the first international remittance company to partner directly with Huawei. The deal is expected to accelerate WorldRemit's technical integrations with new mobile money operators. Technical integration is frequently a barrier to offering international remittances for mobile network operators.

The technology works on both smartphones and basic handsets, so it is expected to be particularly successful in developing markets.

China Aviation Supplies Holding Company has signed an agreement to purchase 140 planes from Airbus in a deal worth about 22.8 billion U.S. dollars, an official statement said Monday.

The deal involves 100 Airbus A320 planes and 40 A350 jets, according to the State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission statement.

Airbus Group

In recent years, China's aviation market has expanded in size by about 10 percent year on year on average, the statement said.

The deal will help to meet the country's fast-growing market demand.

China's domestically-produced plane capacity was taken into consideration when the decision was made on Wednesday.

China is set to boost the development of its civil aviation industry to create a market expected to be worth more than a trillion yuan (about 147.2 billion U.S. dollars) by 2020.

It will build new civil airports, bringing the total to more than 500 by 2020, and support the opening of its low-altitude airspace.

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Russian energy major Gazprom and Turkey’s state-owned BOTAS have reached financial terms for the natural gas pipeline through Turkey, according to BOTAS General Director Burhan Ozcan.

“We have already agreed with Gazprom on this issue, but I cannot disclose the figures, in what percentage share we will do it,” he told RIA-Novosti on the sidelines of the 22nd World Petroleum Congress.

The gas pipeline project, known as Turkish Stream will consist of two branches. The first with a maximum capacity of 15.75 billion cubic meters is expected to be finished in 2018 and deliver Russian natural gas directly to Turkey. The second branch is supposed to deliver gas to European customers through Turkey.

Ozcan added that work on getting approval for the construction of the second branch was “going smoothly, without any hidden dangers.”

Russia Gazprom and Turkey

Russia and Turkey officially agreed on the project in October 2016, with an estimated cost of €11.4 billion ($12.9 billion).

Earlier this month, Gazprom signed an agreement with Hungary to deliver gas via the pipeline. Hungary’s Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto said the Turkish Stream branch to Hungary would be completed by the end of 2019. He added that Budapest sees it as the best option, as other routes through Romania and Croatia are less well advanced.

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So, who won: Mahathir Mohamad or George Soros? The venomous argument between the Malaysian leader and the US fund manager during the Asian financial crisis 20 years ago symbolised the fury of those times. It also dramatised the perennial question of how open emerging economies should be to the trillions of dollars in global speculative capital. So, who won: Mahathir Mohamad or George Soros? The venomous argument between the Malaysian leader and the US fund manager during the Asian financial crisis 20 years ago symbolised the fury of those times. It also dramatised the perennial question of how open emerging economies should be to the trillions of dollars in global speculative capital. 

China was the Real Victor of Asias Financial Crisis of July 1997

Mr Mahathir fired the opening salvos, calling Mr Soros a “moron . . . with a lot of money” and accusing him of targeting the Malaysian currency, the ringgit, to make “unnecessary, unproductive and immoral” profits from speculation. He also perceived dark motives, talking of a Jewish plot hatched by those who were “not happy to see Muslims progress”. 

Mr Soros, who is Jewish, countered that Mr Mahathir was a “menace to his country”, who would not be able to get away with finding scapegoats for his own failings if “his ideas were subject to the discipline of independent media”. 

Vituperation aside, the question of who prevailed should be broken down. In the short term, there is no doubt that Mr Soros, one of the world’s most successful fund managers, made big gains by betting against Asian currencies. 

Equally, it is clear that the region was devastated. Currencies in Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia and South Korea plummeted; companies defaulted on tranche after tranche of foreign debt; millions lost their jobs; thousands chose suicide; and governments fell. 

The worst-hit country, Indonesia, suffered a 13.1 per cent fall in gross domestic product in one year while the rupiah, its currency, at one point lost 83 per cent of its value against the US dollar. As the country’s strongman, President Suharto, resigned in May 1998, it seemed that the doctrine of open markets backed by the speculators’ trillions had morphed into an irresistible punitive force. 

But in the intervening years, deep psychological scars have directed self-strengthening behaviours. Asia has emerged wiser and more resilient from the crisis.

There is also a very real sense in which Mr Mahathir’s exhortations to control flows of investor capital are now making ground against Mr Soros’s open market creed, primarily because of the influence of a rising China. 

“Developing countries have ‘won’ because the lesson they learnt from the crises of the 1980s and 1990s was overwhelmingly about the need for self-insurance to protect themselves against the damage that volatile capital flows can do,” says David Lubin, head of emerging markets at Citi.

Such self-reliance compelled south-east Asian nations to build war chests of foreign currency reserves to repel speculative attacks. It also prompted them to live closer to their means, curbing a foreign borrowing addiction that had left them vulnerable when the crisis drove down the value of their currency relative to their dollar debts. 

These storm walls proved their worth during the 2008/09 financial crisis. “The region really dodged a bullet . . . largely because of the defences they had put in place,” says Michael Taylor of Moody’s, a credit-rating agency. 

Yet, the most enduring student of the Asian financial typhoon was not one of its direct victims. China watched in horror as the region’s currencies swooned, but held its renminbi rock solid against the US dollar, earning plaudits from Washington for helping to stem financial market contagion. 

Before the crisis, Beijing had considered moving towards the full convertibility of the renminbi by around the turn of the millennium, effectively opening China to international capital flows. But the Asian crisis sowed revulsion at the destructive power of western capital. 

Twenty years later, Beijing still maintains strict controls over its capital account and the value of the renminbi, liberalising only by shades in what Michael Power of Investec Asset Management calls the “dance of the seven veils”. One aim of this is to ensure that foreign capital exerts only marginal power in its domestic financial markets. 

For the rest of the world, such policies are highly significant. They mean that the world’s second-largest stock market and third-largest bond market are largely sequestered from global capital flows. Even after a landmark decision last month by MSCI to add some Chinese shares into key indices, the included equities make up just a smidgen of its emerging markets index. 

In this way China is embracing international capital strictly on its own terms and neutralising the power of latter-day Mr Soroses. It is a vision of capitalism in which capital is trussed and bound, incapable of punishing those who violate its animating algorithms. Mr Mahathir’s victory may have come third hand, but Asia is starting to reflect his side of the argument.

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BEIJING, June 1 (SilkroadNews) -- China Development Bank (CDB), the country's largest development bank, said on Thursday that it will take about three years to issue loans to projects related to the Belt and Road Initiative. The CDB set up a special lending scheme worth 250 billion

AIIB Receives Third Triple-A Credit Rating from S&P Global Ratings


Beijing, July 18: S&P Global Ratings ("S&P") announced it has assigned the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) its highest possible rating and a stable outlook. According to its press release, S&P has provided its 'AAA/A-1+' long- and short-term issuer credit ratings to AIIB.

S&P stated: "The ratings reflect our opinion that over the next three-to-five years AIIB will establish a track record and significantly enhance its operational setup, supporting our assessment of its very strong business profile and its extremely strong financial profile."

The full press release announcing S&P’s decision is available here.

The document entitled "Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank Assigned 'AAA/A-1+' Rating; Outlook Stable", dated July 18, 2017 is entirely the copyright of, and is reproduced with the permission of S&P.

The contents of such document are the property of S&P and subject to the disclaimers contained in such document. By accessing the above-described document, the user acknowledges the disclaimer.

AIIB makes no representation as to the accuracy or completeness of this document, and accepts no liability for the consequences of your placing any reliance on it.

Beijing, July 13: Fitch Ratings ("Fitch") announced it has assigned the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) its highest possible rating and a stable outlook. According to its press release, Fitch has provided AIIB with a long-term issuer default rating of ‘AAA’ and a short-term issuer default rating of ‘F1+’.

Fitch stated AIIB’s ratings are based on, "its existing and expected intrinsic strengths. Created in 2015, AIIB has been endowed with a substantial capital based which, in Fitch’s view, will support the projected rapid expansion in lending; exposure to risk will be mitigated by a comprehensive set of policies and by high quality governance.

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AIIB enjoys an excellent level of liquidity and should benefit from easy access to capital markets."

The full press release announcing Fitch’s decision is available here.

The document entitled "Fitch Assigns Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank ‘AAA’; Outlook Stable", dated July 13, 2017 is entirely the copyright of, and is reproduced with the permission of Fitch Ratings. The contents of such document are the property of Fitch Ratings and subject to the disclaimers contained in such document.

By accessing the above-described document, the user acknowledges the disclaimer. AIIB makes no representation as to the accuracy or completeness of this document, and accepts no liability for the consequences of your placing any reliance on it.

BUENOS AIRES, June 17 (Xinhua) -- With Argentina's participation announced on Friday, the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) has now six members in Latin America, a fact indicating its increasing influence in the region and around the world.

Argentina joined Brazil, Chile, Peru, Venezuela and Bolivia to become the sixth Latin American member of the one-and-half-year-old multilateral financial institution. The Latin American members include the region's major economies.

The move highlights AIIB's growing influence worldwide. It also shows that the AIIB concept of cooperation highly agrees with the need of development in Latin American countries.

The increase in AIIB's Latin American members reveals the region's close relations with Asia as well as a its intention to seek bilateral bonds, AIIB Vice President Sir Danny Alexander told Xinhua Friday on the sidelines of the second annual meeting of AIIB board of governors held in the southern South Korean resort island of Jeju.

Meanwhile, Latin American countries' intention to take part in the AIIB reflects the fact that AIIB commitments are global, he added.

For Argentina, the AIIB serves as a good bond with China in pushing common development, enabling promotion of its infrastructure construction and exchanges with China, Argentine President Mauricio Macri said during attendance of the high-level Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation held in May ahead of his state visit to China.

Nadia Radulovich, co-founder of Asia Viewers consultancy, said, "AIIB can help Argentina, which is an emerging economy in need of massive investment, to sustain economic growth."

Yang Zhimin, a researcher with the Research Institute of Latin America under the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said Argentina is under pressure to seek funding after settling a debt crisis.

"Argentina fails to get what it wants from international financing after settling its debt crisis. The Macri administration has to seek various channels for funding," Yang said.

The AIIB, being capable of both funding and prioritizing infrastructure projects, is exactly what Argentina and many other Latin American countries urgently need in their efforts to upgrade infrastructure, according to Yang.

Poor infrastructure in Latin American countries has led to low trade facilitation and less favorable environment for both foreign trade and capital inflow, Yang noted, adding that an AIIB membership will help improve their trade and investment environment as well as international competitiveness.

Yang also believes that with the support from the AIIB, cooperation between China and Latin American countries will expand further and go deeper, bringing tangle benefits.

Latin American countries are showing growing interest in the China-proposed Belt and Road Initiative that seeks common development and prosperity by building infrastructure and trade networks, Yang said.

The AIIB is expected to do a good job in organizing and coordinating the cooperation projects, said the Chinese expert.

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Azerbaijan, Georgia and Turkey Doing a Significant Work for the Development of the Silk Road

Silk Road Fund

Baku, July 19:  Azerbaijan, Georgia and Turkey are doing a significant work for the development of the Silk Road.

Chairman of the State Customs Committee of Azerbaijan Aydin Aliyev made the remarks during the trilateral meeting of Azerbaijan-Georgia-Turkey, with participation of First Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister of Georgia Dimitry Kumsishvili, Minister of Customs and Trade of Turkey Bulent Tufenkci on July 19, Trend reported.

Aydin Aliyev stressed that the three countries pay special attention and carry out large-scale work in the spheres of increasing freight traffic and ensuring energy security in the region.

In turn, Turkish Minister of Customs and Trade Bulent Tufenkci said that the construction of the Turkish part of the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars (BTK) railway, which is an important part of the historical Silk Road is planned to be completed by late 2017.

The Minister added that in the past, there were certain problems with the project implementation but they have already been fixed.

The three sides signed declaration on establishment of a permanent commission that will help improve relations between the customs structures of the three countries, as well as business and customs authorities in the region.

The customs bodies of Azerbaijan, Georgia and Turkey will jointly work on the development of transit cargo transportation, invest in the modernization of customs services, and create mechanisms for the exchange of information on subjects and goods passing through the borders of the three countries, in accordance with the declaration.

Moreover, the customs services of Azerbaijan and Turkey signed an agreement on the creation of an electronic system for the exchange of information on transit transport by road.

The new Silk Road project, which involves over 60 countries with a population of 4.5 billion people, runs through an area of 40 million km2.

 Turkey, which is located at the crossroads of Asia and Europe, is one of the leading countries participating in the Silk Road and the corridor of the Silk Road will connect Europe with Central Asia through Turkish Anatolia and will be brought to China.

Currently, Azerbaijan, Georgia and Turkey are working on the implementation of the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars (BTK) railway.

The BTK railway is being constructed on the basis of the Azerbaijan-Georgia-Turkey intergovernmental agreement. The main purpose of the project is to improve economic relations between the three countries and gain foreign direct investment by connecting Europe and Asia.
The project implementation began in 2007 and construction began in 2008.

The line is intended to transport one million passengers and 6.5 million tons of freight at the first stage. This capacity will then reach 3 million passengers and 17 million tons of cargo. 

The trade turnover between Azerbaijan and Turkey amounted to almost $1.2 billion in the first half of 2017, between Azerbaijan and Georgia-$270.35 million, according to the State Customs Committee of Azerbaijan.

China's Silk Road Unlikely to Derail India-Japan Relations

Silk Road Fund

Amid speculations that Japan could jump on China’s "One Belt, One Road" (OBOR) bandwagon, Indian experts project a grim possibility of such venture.

New Delhi, July 18:  A meeting between Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Chinese President Xi Jinping in Hamburg, Germany this weekend triggered speculation that Japan could be joining OBOR ["One Belt, One Road"] — China’s trade and development strategy that focuses on connectivity and cooperation between Eurasian countries via land and sea.

The Japan News quoted Prime Minister Abe as saying “It (OBOR) has potential. We hope the initiative will contribute to regional and global peace and prosperity by adopting ideas held by all in the international community. We want to cooperate in that respect.”
This statement was widely construed as an affirmation of Japan’s desire to participate in the Chinese with the intent of reaping dividends for its domestic companies as well as to gain a voice within a big-ticket project. It was also seen as Japan’s tactical pressure on the US as a key ally joining a Chinese-led initiative could force President Donald Trump to reconsider his stance on withdrawing from the Asia-Pacific region.

Earlier in March this year, China had organized a grand summit in Beijing to showcase its plans to build OBOR – a network of trade routes that will connect Asia, Africa, the Middle East and Europe. India and Japan were also invited along with 65 other countries. While India flatly refused to participate, Japan, after initial reluctance, had agreed to send a low-key delegation to the summit. Around 60 countries have so far agreed to be part of the project, with a cumulative estimated investment of as much as $8 trillion.

Indian experts say while Japan did attend the OBOR Summit in Beijing, there still remains an open-ended debate within Japan over their level of engagement. “There is no concern for India as we still don’t know what level of engagement Japan is eyeing in the project. There is a significant domestic lobby within Japan, particularly industry people, who want to take part in the project as it makes business sense for them. But, Prime Minister Abe hasn’t committed anything so far and he is coming to India later this year where we will get a very clear idea of what’s going on. Also, even if Japan wants to get involved in the OBOR, we can’t prevent or object to it. What matters is that Japan is also involved in the Trans-Pacific Partnership as well as the Asia-Africa Growth Corridor. We have a strategic partnership with them,” K.V. Kesavan, Distinguished Fellow at the New Delhi-based Observer Research Foundation told Sputnik.

India’s key concerns stems from the fact that a 3,000 km stretch of the project passes through the Gilgit-Baltistan region which lies in the Kashmir region over which both India and Pakistan has territorial claims. India is also threatened as it feels that China is encircling it through a web of sea and land route under the garb of commercial projects, which could be used as military facilities as well.

Nevertheless, experts say it would be premature to speculate any impact of Japan’s seemingly changed stance on OBOR on India-Japan strategic partnership which is mainly aimed at containing the military rise of China. The two countries along with the US are currently part of the ongoing annual Malabar naval exercise in the Indian Ocean.

Source: Sputnik

Chinese Entrepreneurs Interested to Invest in Pakistan’s Agriculture Sector to Produce Silk Worms

Silk Road Fund

ISLAMABAD, July 17 : Chinese entrepreneurs Monday showed interest to invest in Pakistan’s agriculture sector to produce silk worms, mulberries and many other agro products.

A delegation of Chinese entrepreneurs led by Lee of Ministry of Commerce, China visited Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ICCI).

Speaking on the occasion, Lee said Chinese entrepreneurs were looking for suitable land to set up an agriculture farm in the first phase and in the second phase they would set up a factory in Pakistan to produce silk.

He said their investment was likely to create 30,000 new jobs in Pakistan.

He was of the opinion that the establishment of silk factory in Pakistan would make it self-sufficient in silk production and it would not have to import silk from China.

The Chinese delegation discussed many possibilities of investment in local agriculture sector as they considered Pakistan a potential country for business and investment in this sector.
Addressing the meeting, President ICCI Khalid Iqbal Malik said Pakistan was an agriculture country and it offered huge investment opportunities to foreign investors in various sectors of agriculture including crops, seeds and tree farming, livestock, dairy farming and milk processing.

He stressed that Chinese investors should bring in latest machinery and technology in agriculture sector that would help in improving Pakistan’s agricultural productivity and enhance its per acre yield.

He said by investing in Pakistan, Chinese investors could export agri products to Middle East, Central Asia, Europe, Afghanistan and many other countries.

He said Potohar Region and Chakwal district were suitable for production of many agro products including silk worms, olive oil, mulberries, grapes and others.

He assured that the ICCI would fully cooperate with Chinese investors in identifying land for agriculture investment in this region.