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The China Overseas Infrastructure Development and Investment Corporation (COIDIC) has opened a South African office. Based in Johannesburg, the local COIDIC branch will form the base for the organisation’s future projects across the continent.

COIDIC opens SA office

COIDIC will be involved in the planning, designing, financing and construction of infrastructure projects across Africa in the energy, transportation and Information and Communication Technology (ICT) sectors. These will be conducted as public-private partnerships (PPP), where possible.

“We will develop in a very short time and provide mature projects in Africa, thereby attracting more funds to invest in African infrastructure,” COIDIC director Zhou Chao said at the inauguration of the office.

According to him, the organisation chose South Africa as its local headquarters due to its commercial environment, including project opportunities, travel convenience, supporting services, such as engineering, legal, financing and its economic ties with China. “South Africa provides a good living environment, which will help attract and retain talent and smart people. South Africa also has a CADFund office,” he said. The China-African Fund (CADFund) holds a majority stake in COIDIC.

COIDIC, which has a $500 million capital base, will focus on incubation of infrastructure projects in order to implement the Chinese government’s “The Belt and Road” strategy. This aims to improve the capacity of infrastructure development by Chinese enterprises. COIDIC develops projects from concept to final profit.

Speaking at the COIDIC office opening, Deputy Minister of Trade and Industry, Bulelani Magwanishe, said that the South African government was encouraged by China's position on the continent and expressed optimism that COIDIC's initiatives would contribute significantly in strengthening sustainable trade and investment relations between Africa and China.

“We are encouraged by the People's Republic of China's commitment to invest in infrastructure development projects through COIDC. We need to ensure that our trade and investment relations have an optimal developmental impact. Investment in infrastructure will be a key driver in enabling this developmental impact. We view developmental integration as a fundamental precursor to the economic growth and rise of the African continent,” he told attendees at the event.

“The South African government does not view the country's development in isolation from that of the rest of Africa. Rather we have prioritised the integration of the African continent, which is premised on infrastructure development, industrial development and market integration. We support regional integration, which should locate Africa as a critical player in the global economy. In this regard, COIDC's PPP model augurs well for the meaningful participation of African governments and the private sector in changing the economic and social trajectory of the African continent.”

According to Zhou, the PPP model has proven to be an efficient way of infrastructure investment and financing globally. “With the decline in global commodity prices and the appreciation of the dollar, more and more African countries have constraints on their capacity to borrow to finance infrastructure projects, and many national economies are vulnerable to commodity price fluctuations affecting their capacity to service debt and to maintain good credit ratings, thus the importance of PPP model is also increasingly prominent.”

Image: http://gh.china-embassy.org/eng/sgxw/t1408652.htm or https://www.thedti.gov.za/about_dti/dep_minister.jsp

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