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Gabon eyes greater Chinese investment as China-Africa ties expand


This year marks the 20th anniversary of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC). The framework has helped expand mutually beneficial cooperation between China and African countries, including Gabon, in diverse fields. As Africa seeks to recover from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, the two sides are determined to further deepen the cooperation.   

In an exclusive interview with ChinAfrica, Gabonese Ambassador to China Baudelaire Ndong Ella discusses the importance of China as an economic and trade partner of Gabon; the role of FOCAC in strengthening cooperation between China and Africa, including Gabon; and his expectations from the upcoming FOCAC meeting in Senegal in early 2021. Below are the excerpts of the interview. 

Gabonese Ambassador to China Baudelaire Ndong Ella

ChinAfrica: What kind of role do you think FOCAC has played in strengthening economic cooperation between China and Gabon?  

Baudelaire Ndong Ella: FOCAC has had a profound and significant impact on Gabon-China economic cooperation. Driven by the forum, the trade volume between the two countries has been increasing quickly and China has been the biggest trade partner of Gabon for five years, slowly becoming the primary source of foreign direct investment in Gabon.   

Following our countrys joining of the Belt and Road Initiative on September 1, 2018, in Beijing, on the occasion of the Third FOCAC Summit, several Chinese businessmen have traveled to Gabon in order to invest in areas such as road and rail infrastructure, mining, agriculture, real estate and tourism.  

Whats your expectation from the FOCAC meeting to be held in Senegal in 2021?   

The FOCAC 2018 Summit has set grounds for a stronger cooperation between China and Africa with a great desire to build a China-Africa community with a shared future. Chinese President Xi Jinping announced eight major initiatives in collaboration with Africa for industrial promotion, trade facilitation and green development, among others, as well as a $60 billion-project financing envelope.   

While we welcome this initiative, we hope that the question of a rational distribution of the envelope to the five regions of our continent and a fair procedure for validating projects, especially, the criteria for obtaining these credits, will be finalized at the 2021 meeting, in order to guarantee balanced and harmonious development of the entire continent.  

Has the COVID-19 pandemic affected Gabon-China economic cooperation?  

COVID-19 has had a harmful impact on African economies, especially those of African oil-exporting countries like Gabon. It is important to continue to cooperate, share our experiences and increase material and technical support for the response against the novel coronavirus in order to neutralize its impact on both health and economic issues.  

Gabons stable political system and promising economic growth make it a highly attractive destination for Chinese investment and the country takes a positive view of Chinas role in Africa and welcomes Chinas involvement not just in infrastructure financing but in fields as diverse as tourism, medical cooperation, digital economy and renewable energies. 

By Xia Yuanyuan Web Exclusive ·2020-09-29

Publié le : 30 / 09 / 2020