By Staff Writer
Knowledge is power; this is not an empty slogan but raw fact.
Given the importance of Chinese commerce and economic development in Africa, it is prudent that Africans acquire as much knowledge as possible about China to facilitate their interaction with the largest business partner for the continent.
There are many bodies, authorities, associations, groups, chambers and councils that facilitate or support and promote the economic activities going on between China and Africa.
One of such bodies is the China –Africa business council (CABC), an organization that is largely the initiative of the Chinese historically.
We focus on CABC in order to disseminate knowledge about the organization and how it works.
The genesis of the China-Africa business council dates back to 2004 and is linked to one name: Kofi Annan.
In that year, the late United nations(UN) secretary general proposed the establishment of the China-Africa business council.
In the following year, the United Nations Development program (UNDP), the Chinese ministry of commerce, the China international Centre for Economic and technical exchange started deliberating and working on the modalities of such a body.
Their work came to fruition the following year in 2006 when the CABC was officially established under the approval of the Chinese government.
CABC comprises of over 500 Chinese and African companies and private enterprises.
Among the few that can be cited here include; Holley group, a pharmaceutical company, China-Africa development fund, China-Africa advisory, a consulting firm, Huajin group, the footwear giant well established in Ethiopia, the west African Golden gate group, a multi investment group that includes the Golden gate hotel in Nigeria.
The sole objective of setting up the CABC was for it to play the role of economic cooperation accelerator between China and Africa.
CABC is focused on facilitating, easing and resolving situations challenges and promotion of business between China and Africa.
The CABC. has effectively dovetailed into the massive programme under the Forum on China-Africa cooperation(FOCAC) to support the implementation of the various programmes.
The organization submits suggestions to the Chinese governmental agencies based on the opinions and demands of the companies, searches international opportunities for its members and provides consulting on investment financing for the members.
In its business promotion role, CABC has over the ten years since the inception of FOCAC hosted over 100 business delegations from thirty-five African countries in China, and in return organized business delegations from China to thirty six African countries.
So far, over 400 member companies from China, including the China-Africa development fund, Shenzhen Energy Group and Huajian group have been operating in Africa over the years creating over 70,000 jobs for the African labor market in various countries.
In addition, through its membership network, CABC provides specialized services including international promotion, visa application, business trips, legal and commercial consulting, training, seminars, security services and emergency rescue.
The organization has a strong commitment towards corporate social responsibilities in Africa.
In March 2015, the CABC founded a specialized humanitarian fund; “Increasing Love for decreasing AIDS fund.” Widely known as the ILDA fund.
Increasing Love for Decreasing AIDS Fund is the first international social benefit program under China Social Assistance Foundation.
The Fund was jointly established by 9 people dedicated to China-Africa friendship and the control and prevention of AIDS.
The sponsors are from China-Africa Business Council, China-Africa Development Fund, UNAIDS, UNDP and other institutions as well as schools.
With assistance from UNAIDS and other international institutions, the ILDA Fund selects local organizations and makes donations designated to help African mothers and children infected and affected by HIV/AIDS.
The fund aims to contribute to combating against HIV/AIDS and promote public benefits through non-governmental efforts such as mobilizing the youth and engaging Chinese investors in Africa
Further, member companies of CABC have undertaken school construction works and water well drilling in various remote locations across Africa.
They have also undertaken cultural exchange programmes between China and Africa and provided scholar ships for college students to study in China.
The CABC, apart from its involvement in the fight against HIV/AIDS, has also been actively involved in fighting against the Ebola scourge in Africa.
Most of these activities elaborated above, that Chinese business and Chinese money is undertaking in Africa are hardly known to many Africans on the continent.
Hostile media campaigns have harped repeatedly on the perceived economic harm that Chinese economic cooperation in Africa is wrecking on the continent.
It is imperative therefore, that Africans get to know both sides of the coin instead of always being fed on gloomy economic forecasts and the specter of the Chinese bogey man towering on the African economic land scape.
More and more African companies need to rise and become active and strong players in the China-Africa business council.
This is the only way to strengthen and taking the Chinese –African cooperation to higher heights.