BEIJING, Nov. 16 (Xinhua) -- Sino-African relations have entered a new development stage of win-win cooperation, according to the fifth Biennial Conference of China-Africa Industrial Forum (CAIF) that opened here Thursday.
Supporting Africa's industrialization and capacity cooperation are of vital importance in the next five years and Sino-African trade is likely to total 180 billion U.S. dollars in 2017, said CAIF secretary general Cheng Zhigang in the opening speech.
Sino-African economic and trade cooperation has great potential, said Cheng. China has been Africa's largest trading partner since 2009. Chinese investments in Africa exceeded 100 billion dollars in 2016, about 50 times as much as in 2010. China's investments in Africa have also diversified in business areas, from construction and mining to emerging industries such as manufacturing, finance, information technology and the internet.
Sino-African economic and trade cooperation is in keeping with the Belt and Road Initiative and Africa's "Agenda 2063." It is for the mutual benefit of China and Africa.
Under the guidance of the China-Africa Development Fund, China-Africa Capacity Cooperation Fund, the Silk Road Fund and other sovereign funds, large amounts of Chinese private capital have landed in Africa. The financing model has changed from primarily national sovereign guarantee to more commercial-oriented, which facilitates the joint building of industrial parks and capacity cooperation between the two sides.
Currently, Chinese businesses have begun the construction or preparations for nearly 100 industrial parks in Africa, of which around 40 have become operational.
Statistics show, by the end of 2016, Chinese enterprises had built 5,756 km of railways, 4,335 km of highways, nine ports, 14 airports and 34 power plants in Africa, as well as more than 10 large hydropower stations and nearly a thousand of small hydropower stations.
In January-June, China-Africa trade recorded 85.3 billion U.S. dollars, up 19 percent on same period of 2016. The import and export mix has further optimized. Transport equipment has become a new bright spot in China's exports to Africa. The export of ships, locomotives and aerospace equipment have registered year-on-year growth of 200 percent, 161 percent and 252 percent, respectively. China-Africa trade for the whole year is expected to reach 180 billion dollars. Meanwhile, major projects of Sino-African cooperation have been progressing steadily.
The CAIF has become an important organization for promoting Sino-African cooperation, Cheng said.
The two-day CAIF conference has attracted representatives from some 40 African countries. Talks will be held for over 200 cooperation projects, and more than 20 African countries will stage on-site project promotion.