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Industrial takeoff in Africa needs international support

Updated: 2016-07-20 18:23
By Lucie Morangi (chinadaily.com.cn)

African governments need to build their resilience in the wake of a harsh global market as they strongly push for industrial growth. The international community should also support the efforts of these countries to ease them into the global value chains.

That was the assessment by Zhang Huarong, Vice Chair of the China-Africa business council, on the sidelines of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) in Nairobi. More than 3000 delegates are are attending the east African city for the international forum from July 17-22.

"Africa needs mutual partners to promote its fledgling manufacturing sector. Investors on the other hand should strive to understand Africa's needs and support its quest for socio-economic development," said Zhang, who is also the Chair of the Huajian group in China.

"For Africa to get its own, 'Made in Africa', brand, stakeholders, which include governments, investors and civil society need to have vision, patience and courage to unlock the continent's potential. Indeed Africa needs time, capacity development and most of all, fortitude to endure the prevailing global trade landscape."

Zhang urged Africa to formulate long-term strategies and short-term policies, to make a powerful combination to experiment and understand its needs and potential. This was the same formula China used in the onset of its rapid economic growth, he said.

"Foreign investors need to respect local culture and design a strategy that would build a new African culture," Zhang said, adding that his organization had been instrumental in the growth of a shoe company in Ethiopia that had taken on at least 300 Ethiopians for training.

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