International trading order must be upheld

Monday, September 3, 2018

While foreign direct investment to Africa has increased, economies on the continent are vulnerable to global market fluctuations and it is essential to uphold the international trading order, President Cyril Ramaphosa said on Monday.

The President was speaking at a China-Africa high level dialogue with business representatives at the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) in Beijing, China.

President Ramahosa said foreign direct investment (FDI) has increased almost five-fold, overtaking foreign aid on the continent since 2000.

He said the African continent is encouraged by trade between Africa and China which stood at $170 billion in 2017, up from $10 billion in 2000.
Chinese direct investment in Africa between 2000 and 2017 exceeded $100 billion, up from only $1 billion in 2000.

“While such integration brings many benefits, it also makes Africa’s economies more vulnerable to global market fluctuations and crashes. It also increases the volatility of prices for food and other essential commodities,” said the President.

“It is therefore essential that we strive to uphold the international trading order and the global development priorities contained in the Sustainable Development Goals and the Paris Agreement on climate change,” he said.

This as the FOCAC got underway in the Chinese capital on Monday.

Putting people first

President Ramaphosa said as the pace of investment in infrastructure and industrial capacity “we must place the people at the centre of our efforts”.
“As we promote science, technology, innovation, engineering and mathematics, we must maintain a people-centred approach. When we create jobs, it must be decent jobs to give our people dignity and a rising standard of living,” he said.

Engagement within FOCAC should be strategically building links between dignity, work, opportunity and economic security for all people.

“Our people should see and feel the benefits of this strategic cooperation,” said President Ramaphosa of the forum that was established 18 years ago and has become a significant mark of China-Africa cooperation.

President Ramaphosa said the African continent has awakened to the great potential for inclusive growth and meaningful development.

“With the assistance and the support of the Chinese people and government, we are certain that working together we will surely realise that potential.”

Partnership between Africa and China

The third FOCAC Summit reflects the unique and strategic nature of the partnership between Africa and China that facilitates the realisation of Africa’s developmental aspirations reflected in Agenda 2063 through pragmatic collaboration in the quest of win-win cooperation.
In addition the outcomes of the Johannesburg Summit in 2015, which included the Action Plan 2016-2018 and the ten new cooperation measures announced by his Chinese counterpart President Xi Jinping, were welcomed by all.
“The measures are directly aligned with Africa’s priorities, including the need for infrastructure development, funding and professional skilled personnel,” he said.

Infrastructure development

The President said he is convinced FOCAC has taken the comprehensive strategic partnership journey further as the countries involved continue to pursue economic liberation and socio-economic development of its peoples.

This as China has in the past three years provided $60 billion to carry out some of the Africa’s largest infrastructure development projects.

The Addis Ababa Djibouti Railway, the Nairobi Mombasa Railway, Benguela Railway, the Nigerian Abuja Kadula Railway and the Lagos Abadan Railway demonstrate China’s commitment to Africa.

Among other achievements, over 6500 km of railways, 6000 km of highway, 70 power plants, 20 airports, 20 seaports and 200 schools have been built. -