Former Chinese Ambassador to Malawi Lin Songtian has appealed to African countries to open up for more Chinese investment that could help them create more jobs and achieve higher economic growth.
Chinese companies are experiencing ‘over-capacity’ and now seek new investment destinations and Africa features highly due to cheap labour, natural resources and room for growth, according to Songtian who is now director general on African Affairs at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
He was speaking at a recently held 5th China-Africa Think Tanks Forum in Yiwu City where scholars and experts from China and African universities and research institutions explored ways through panel discussions and presentations to improve economic corporation and yield more investments for industrial development in Africa n countries.
Songtian, who was among high level Chinese government officials that graced the forum, outlined challenges and opportunities that exist within the cooperation of Africa and China, hinting the urgent need to improve investment environment with policies to ease entry of Chinese investors.
“Some African countries and some of the general public have complicated sense of hate for foreign investments. They are reluctant to open the markets and they like foreign assistance and investment, but are not willing to see investors making money,” he said.
He also said laws and regulations, preferential policies and government services to promote and protect foreign investments need to be improved.
“Insufficiency in related laws and policies and inadequate enforcement by the governments are common problems in African countries,” Lin told the forum.
However, it was learnt at the forum that funding and other facilities are available for Chinese companies who want to invest in countries like Malawi but there is need for pro-activeness by the host countries.
A Malawian delegation was led by parliamentarian Mary Navicha while another Malawi team on enterprise development was led by Enterprise Development Officer in the Ministry of Industry and Trade, Mccartney Lora who made a short presentation at one of the breakaway meetings where he urged for more investments in small commodity markets to further develop trade between China and Africa.
“Development of Africa with efforts targeting poverty alleviation and addressing unemployment depends on increased cooperation that focuses on small commodity markets, labour intensive investments in Africa and development of entrepreneurship,” he said.
There were no Malawian scholars at the forum which is key to the cooperation of China and African countries and whose outcomes are chief on the areas of trade and investment cooperation between Africa and China.