Africa warned over Chinese investment

HARARE - African countries must not overstate the extent of Chinese investment on the continent as China is investing very little, a United Nations (UN) official said.

Speaking to delegates at the recently-held African Media Leaders Forum in South Africa last week, UN Economic Commission for Africa Executive Secretary Carlos Lopez said African leaders had to confront the reality that Chinese investment in Africa was not enough for the “mineral sacrifices” it was warranting.

“The level of investment China is making to Africa should not even attract all this noise that it is generating because after looking at the figures it becomes apparent that China is in fact holding out on Africa.

“China’s total investment stock in Africa only makes up one percent of China’s worldwide investments,” said Lopez, adding that China was investing in Africa the same amount it was investing in Turkey.

Lopez’s revelations come amid calls by business leaders and civil society for the government of Zimbabwe to stop mortgaging minerals to secure loans.

Lopez said the Zimbabwean situation was especially peculiar as government had taken it upon itself to mortgage unaudited minerals to the Chinese.

“It is interestingly sad really, because some of the Zimbabwean minerals are yet to undergo a geological audit but have already been used to secure funding,” he said.

This comes as Africa’s first ever extraordinary professor in supply and value chain management Douglas Boateng, who was recently in the country, said the government was compromising the country’s future through its dealings with the Chinese.

The hard-pressed southern African nation last year brokered infrastructure and platinum deals with China and Russia respectively.

At the moment, government is yet to draft a priority list for minerals that will be assessed as it seeks to evaluate the country’s mineral value through the newly-formed National Mining Company (NMC), according to deputy Mines minister Fred Moyo.

World Bank’s senior economist Nadia Piffaretti last year said Zimbabwe would be better advised to seek loans at concessionary rates instead of securitising its minerals to get loans.

Zimbabwe, which is struggling to secure $27 billion to finance its economic blueprint ZimAsset, also directed diamond firms to deposit their gems with the central bank as part of wider efforts to secure external loans by securitisation of minerals.

Zimbabwe last year signed cooperation deals with China, most of them focused on the energy, agriculture and telecommunications sectors.

During the same month, government and Russia signed several agreements which will culminate in a $3 billion platinum project in Darwendale, 70km north-west of Harare.

China’s investments abroad are massive, amounting to $870 billion at the end of last year, according to data released by the Heritage Foundation, an American research institute. The United States leads the way, having received a little more than $72 billion.

Of the total, China pledged investments of $20 billion to Africa with countries like Chad and Niger now owing to China about 15 times what they receive from the International Monetary Fund

Meanwhile, a Chinese delegation is expected in the country this month.

Comments (2)

Anyone with just a tiny bit of sense can see that China is bad for Africa. At the end of the day it's not the chinese to blame but the african governement that mortgage the natural resources for minimal chinese loans because China has to look after 1.5 billion people so i dont think it is their duty to give a damn about a poor black african. Trading with China will not benefit Africa in the long term, its uneven and China males waaay more than Africa.

obama4ever - 17 November 2015

African government officials invite Chinese government to come and rob Africa's natural resources so long as Chinese officials bribe these morally corrupted officials. Since when Chinese are concerned for Africans. Of course they are marching to African countries,mainly African countries where they think they could benefited the most. Stop selling Africa to these pigs!!!

genet - 17 December 2015

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