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Harnessing Technology for a Greener China-Africa Partnership

As China continues to prioritise high-quality development and accelerate industrialisation, it intends to advance green and low-carbon cooperation with Africa.

According to Zhang Jianhua, Deputy Director of the Department of Foreign Investment at China’s National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), green cooperation has become a new focal point of China and Africa’s collaboration. China will encourage domestic enterprises to invest in wind, photovoltaic, and biomass energy projects in Africa and enhance the training of local talent.

As agricultural transformation is essential for sustained economic growth, the government also encourages Chinese businesses to invest in agriculture in Africa and expand technological cooperation. In Cote d’Ivoire, for instance, China has helped a region more than double its rice yield.

China has been Africa’s largest trading partner for fourteen consecutive years. For seven years in a row, China’s imports of agricultural products from Africa have increased. The Chinese Academy of International Trade and Economic Cooperation reports that China has become the second-largest importer of agricultural products from Africa.

In addition, the government will encourage Chinese companies to expand their cooperation with Africa in the mining, home appliance, automobile, metallurgical, and chemical industries. In Africa, Chinese companies may invest more in e-commerce and mobile payments.

According to Yu Jia, a professor at Peking University, the digital economy serves as a new engine for China-Africa economic development. Cooperation in e-commerce can facilitate the entry of high-quality African goods into the Chinese market and help small and medium-sized businesses in Africa innovate their products, services, and business models.

Currently, more than 3,500 Chinese companies are operating in Africa, and their total direct investment in the continent has surpassed $56 billion. According to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, China and Africa have jointly constructed over 20 industrial parks.

Due to the instability of the global economy and supply chain, Sino-African cooperation faces a critical period as it attempts to advance. Promotion of the transformation and upgrade of cooperation and high-quality development has become the responsibility of the two parties in the new era.

Africa has played an important role in the BRI. Among the 53 African countries that have established diplomatic relations with China, 52 have signed cooperation agreements with China to contribute to the BRI.

China Civil Engineering Construction Corp (CCECC), a subsidiary of the state-owned China Railway Construction Corp Ltd, intends to invest more resources this year to increase its market share in new types of infrastructure in Africa.

Early this year, the company began operations on the first phase of the Lagos Rail Mass Transit Blue Line project in Nigeria, the first electrified light rail in West Africa. It stated that the Lagos light rail is a flagship project under the BRI framework.

CCECC plans to seize new business opportunities emerging in the transformation of the global industrial chain and market revitalisation in Africa as part of building ‘new infrastructure’ such as 5G towers, big data centres, internet of things (IoT) facilities, and digital hubs in the coming years, in addition to traditional infrastructure projects such as roads, bridges, and railroads.

Following that, the company’s priorities in Nigeria and other West African countries will include the construction of 5G base stations, new energy businesses such as wind power and photovoltaic power generation, as well as electrified urban railway projects.

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