Building capacity to help Africa trade better

Connecting African, Chinese businesses to boost trade and investment


Connecting African, Chinese businesses to boost trade and investment

Connecting African, Chinese businesses to boost trade and investment
Photo credit: Riccardo Gangale | Bloomberg

Through the Partnership for Investment and Growth in Africa (PIGA) project, companies in Ethiopia, Kenya, Mozambique and Zambia are doing business with Chinese investors.

African and Chinese entrepreneurs in agro-processing are talking business, doing business as a direct result of meetings co-organized by the International Trade Centre (ITC).

More than 260 businesspeople participated in one-on-one matchmaking meetings in Changchun, Jilin Province, China, on 4 September 2017 to discuss trade and investment opportunities in the agro-processing and light manufacturing sectors in Africa.

The 200+ meetings between 21 companies from Ethiopia, Kenya, Mozambique and Zambia and 75 Chinese investors were organized by ITC, the Jilin People’s Government, the China Council for the Promotion of International Trade (CCPIT) and the China-Africa Development Fund (CADFund) under the Partnership for Investment and Growth in Africa (PIGA) project.

Concrete investment leads resulted immediately after the event.

Pursuing business leads

A Kenyan company that grows a special variety of chillies for processing into lipstick received an invitation to visit a Chinese investor to discuss follow-up actions. The Chinese investor called the matchmaking event ‘an eye-opener that proved to be really instrumental in developing a partnership with a Kenyan company’.

A Zambian honey producer found a new market for his product and concluded a contract to ship 500,000 bottles of honey to new clients.

Soy oil processing companies from Zambia found a Chinese partner to expand production.

A Chinese company specializing in poultry breeding showed interest in investing in poultry breeding in Ethiopia, Kenya, Mozambique and Zambia.

Promoting exports, development

The matchmaking event was organized under the PIGA project, funded by the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development (DFID). PIGA is a joint United Kingdom-China partnership to increase sustainable economic growth in African countries through investment-led exports and local development in agro-processing and light manufacturing.

ITC, CCPIT, CADFUND, DFID and High-level representatives from the Jilin People’s Government and the Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM) opened the event. Investment promotion officers from Ethiopia, Kenya, Mozambique and Zambia presented the investment climates and policies in their respective countries to the Chinese investors.

The private sector also supported the event, including two Chinese companies that are pioneers in Africa investment, CGCOC Group and Jihai Agriculture Investment and Development Group.

Investing in African businesses

To mobilize $4 billion to develop a livestock agro-processing industrial park in Ethiopia, ITC organized a side event targeting Chinese and Ethiopian companies interested in taking part in the investment project led by the CGCOC Group. Mr. Xuejun Jiang, ITC Chief of Office for Asia and the Pacific who moderated the side event, stated that PIGA was pleased to support the promotion of this project in view of its potential economic and social impact to Ethiopia.

Ms. Masarrat Quader,Regional Private Sector Adviser – Invest Africa at the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland’s Department for International Development (DFID), highlighted the potential of this new industrial park to be a game changer for the sector in Ethiopia and to create up to 25,000 new direct and indirect jobs for Ethiopians.

Mr. Afework Shimelis, Minister Counsellor of the Embassy of Ethiopia in Beijing, and Mr. Zhang Yuzhon, Deputy Director General, Department of Investment Promotion Agency of MOFCOM, underlined the economic and development impact of the project. The side event generated lots of investment interest among the companies which attended this event.

In preparation for the business matchmaking event, ITC organized a one-day workshop for African companies to receive practical, hands-on knowledge about negotiation skills. An ITC expert also advised African companies on making strong investment proposals for Chinese investors.

Tapping investment opportunities

The light manufacturing and agro-processing sectors in Africa remain largely untapped. Large-scale investments from China are already largely taking place through mining, oil and infrastructure projects across Africa. However, only about 10% of Chinese investment projects in Africa from 1998-2012 were in agriculture and manufacturing. Investment in export-oriented activities would help African exports become more diverse and create new opportunities.

The PIGA project focuses on attracting investment in the productive sectors of light-manufacturing and agro-processing to help develop backward linkages, processing capacities, local value addition and job creation.

Through PIGA, ITC facilitates investment in Africa by providing capacity building and advisory support to companies and investment promotion agencies in Ethiopia, Kenya, Mozambique and Zambia. ITC will continue to provide information to Chinese investors on investment climates in Africa, as well as investment-ready African companies that could be potential partners in their investment projects.


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