China’s investment in Africa will not diminish because of its economic slowdown, but will grow in importance as Beijing seeks to tap a greater share of the continent’s resources as well as its growing consumer markets.
The relationship is so important that the slowdown will not affect China’s plans to invest $60 billion into African development projects, Li Yifan, Beijing’s ambassador to Ethiopia, told Reuters late Tuesday.
Africa could even benefit as Chinese companies looked for investments while their own economy adjusts, Li said in Addis Ababa, which hosts the African Union.
“While the Chinese economy is shifting gears, all those major industries that have powered the explosion of Chinese infrastructure over the past 30 years have to find a place (to invest),” Li said. “So where are the most ideal places for those investments? African countries.”
Last year at a summit in South Africa, Chinese President Xi Jinping announced a multi-billion dollar development initiative that would boost agriculture, build roads, ports and railways and cancel some debt. In addition to economic benefits, China is also seeking naval bases in the Horn of Africa, a move that’s worrying the US and other western governments.
“In spite of all the doubts, I can share with you that the relevant government departments, development banks, and insurance companies in China are engaging … their African counterparts on how to make this grand plan come (to fruition),” Li said.