A report recently published by the China-Africa Business Council named the African countries that received the most investments made by the Asian giant on the continent last year.
These countries include middle-income nations, including South Africa and Egypt, and others rich in raw materials, such as Nigeria, Republic of Congo or Zambia.
There were also substantial investments in Ethiopia, Kenya and Tanzania, which are part of the ‘Belt and Road Initiative’, the transcontinental infrastructure megaplan launched by China, highlighted the same source.
Overall, China’s direct investment in Africa increased 8% in 2020 from the previous year to the equivalent of nearly US$3 billion, despite the coronavirus pandemic.
The increase reverts the overall downward trend in foreign direct investment in the continent. A report produced by the United Nations indicated that global investment in Africa fell by 16% in 2020.
In the accumulated total, Chinese investment in the African continent reached over US$47 billion, according to the data.
“Despite the threat of the covid-19 pandemic, the economic slowdown, the closure of borders and the issue of African debt, Chinese companies have remained willing to invest” in the continent, highlighted the chairman of China-Africa Business Council, Wang Licheng.
Several Chinese state-owned companies are building infrastructure projects such as ports, highways, dams and airports, most under the ‘Belt and Road initiative’.
According to data from the Ministry of Commerce of China, however, Chinese private companies are responsible for around 70% of the country’s investments in Africa.
The report indicated that, in addition to traditional sectors such as infrastructure construction and mining, Chinese companies are exploring new areas, including medium and high-tech manufacturing, in healthcare and the digital economy.
Wu Peng, head of the African Affairs Department at China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said recently that Chinese companies are transitioning from a “going to Africa” model to one of “planting roots in Africa”.
China is also Africa’s biggest trading partner since 2009, when it surpassed the United States.
China-Africa trade, which in 2019 surpassed US$200 billion, dropped to around US$177 billion last year, reflecting the impact of the pandemic.