Businesses set to gain from Chinese loans


The Seychelles delegation at the 5th Ministerial Conference of Focac held in Beijing recently

Following the 5th Ministerial Conference of Focac held in Beijing recently, attended by the Minister for Foreign Affairs Jean-Paul Adam, China has pledged US $20 billion in the form of a line of credit to Africa for the next three years aimed at helping the continent enhance its capacity for sustainable development through preferential and commercial loans.

“We need to improve the transportation links between Africa and China,” said Minister Adam in his intervention.

“This includes promotion of air access, as well as investment and development in ports, and in other maritime transportation infrastructure.” 

The minister also emphasised the development of sustainable tourism and people to people exchanges as well as the development of trade between China and Africa as areas where Seychelles is expected to benefit further from this renewed partnership.

“In this era of unsustainable energy prices, we are also encouraged by the efforts within Focac to develop the green economy.  In Seychelles, the investment in solar energy and biomass projects can make a real difference to reduce our vulnerability to the instability of international fuel prices.  We are pleased that this forum also offers strong scope for private sector investment,” added Minister Adam.

Over the past decade, Focac has established measures to guide trade and economic cooperation between China and Africa, and since then economic development has leapt forward, expanding rapidly in scale to reach USD 166 billion in 2011, involving more areas and in diverse methods.
China has been Africa’s largest trading partner for the last three consecutive years, and Africa is the 4th largest destination for Chinese investment.  The achievements in China-Africa trade and economic cooperation have enriched the connotation of the new China-Africa strategic partnership and have become a highlight in South-South cooperation.

The 5th Ministerial Conference of Focac saw the adoption of the Beijing Declaration and the Beijing Action Plan 2013 – 2015.  South Africa has succeeded Egypt as the new co-chairman of Focac, and the 6th Ministerial Conference of Focac will be held in South Africa in 2015.

The Seychelles delegation also included Seychelles’ resident ambassador to China, Philippe Le Gall, and the director general for Protocol, Treaties and Consular from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Joseph Francois.

Focac is a multilateral platform as well as a diplomatic forum for collective, pragmatic consultation and dialogue established in 2000 by Chinese and African leaders to guide cooperation between Africa and China. In the 12 years since then, Focac has witnessed four ministerial conferences, one summit, nine senior officers meeting. 

The 5th Ministerial meeting of Focac was officially opened by Hu Jintao, the President of the People’s Republic of China and saw the participation of several African head of states notably Jacob Zuma (President for South Africa), Thomas Boni Yayi (President of Benin, who is also the President of the African Union), President of Niger, Djibouti, as well as Prime Minister of Cape Verdi, and Kenya.  Secretary general of the United Nations, Ban Ki-moon, and Jean Ping, the outgoing chairman of the AU Commission were also present together with over 50 Foreign ministers and over 200 senior diplomats representing Africa and China.  

The Beijing Declaration is a political document mutually agreed by both parties to guide the cooperation of China-Africa, while the Beijing Action Plan 2013-2015 sets the framework to guide the implementation of projects, programmes and cooperation for the next three years.

Both the Beijing Declaration and the Action Plan have been drafted by a committee involving member states of Focac and was validated in the senior officer’s meeting on July 18, 2012 prior to adoption at the 5th Ministerial meeting.