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2nd China-Africa Investment Forum begins in Morocco

By Edith Mutethya | | Updated: 2017-11-28 19:36

The second China-Africa Investment Forum (CAIF) kicked off Monday at Marrakech in Morocco, bringing together 505 high-level Chinese and African economic decision makers and business leaders.

The two-day event includes conferences and debates on the financial implications for African economies of the new Silk Road and how to capitalize on the new dynamic, aimed at making the continent a true industrial hub.

Speaking during the opening ceremony, Moulay Elalamy, the minister of Industry, Investment, Trade and Digital Economy in Morocco, said the Belt and Road Initiative is destined to strengthen international exchanges between China and the rest of the world.

"The infrastructure financed by China through the initiative will help African countries to better connect with the rest of the world. The Silk Road initiative should also radically promote participation of African countries to the world exchanges," Elalamy said.

Li Li, the Chinese ambassador to Morocco, said China is committed to supporting Africa's economic growth. "China's new development concept galvanizes the development of Africa through the Belt and Road Initiative," he said.

Marwane Yahmed, the Jeune Afrique publication director, said the China-Africa Investment Forum has opened a new chapter of partnership influenced by the massive attention on the Belt and Road Initiative.

"We are here to build in a practical manner and gain new market share. That is the spirit of CAIF as we are convinced that the private sector is the engine of growth and job creation needed in Africa. We are thus delighted to be organizers of the event in partnership with the Moroccan Ministry of Industry, Investment, Trade and Digital Economy," he said.

Yahmed said CIAF has opened a new chapter influenced by the great potential within the framework of the Belt and Road Initiative.

"In the near future, Chinese companies should play a key role in the development of Africa's key strategic sectors such as agriculture, banking and insurance, housing, information and communication technology, logistics, and transport. This is in addition to the transfer of knowledge and technologies," Yahmed said.

Yahmed noted that Morocco was not a random choice for the event but that the kingdom is a bridge between Africa and Europe. It's also a stable economic and financial center selected by Chinese companies to conduct their investments in the region.

However, he challenged Chinese entrepreneurs to position themselves as key stakeholders in the local economy instead of individual players.

During the event, CIAF is scheduled to be launched as a platform to advance Sino-African business partnerships in sectors of mutual interest to both parties, including industry, infrastructure and renewable energies.

The first CIAF was held Nov 26-27, 2015, in Marrakech and was a great success, judging from the strong engagement of leaders from the biggest Chinese and African companies as well as the quality of the debates and exchanges during the conducted panels and the 500 business-to-business meetings.

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