April 8, 2004

Chissano visits China and invites to invest

Mozambican President Joaquim Chissano has visited China after the invitation of his Chinese counterpart, Hu Jintao. Speaking to Chinese business people at a conference on cooperation in the western Chinese province of Sichuan, Chissano declared "The time for Africa's development has come", now that, with the assistance of China, African peoples had freed themselves from colonialism and from the white minority regimes that had denied their economic emancipation. He added that never before had there been better conditions in Africa for Chinese investments to bear the desired fruit. "We Africans are convinced that the moment has arrived for Africa to board the ship of development", he stressed. "Just as is happening in south Asia, where since the early 1980s there have been impressive experiences of economic growth, Africa is now travelling on that path. The Asian experience, and that of China in particular, encourages us". Africa had not only shaken off the colonial yoke, he continued, but was also doing all it could to eliminate those factors that inhibited foreign businesses. Among such factors, Chissano pointed to political instability, slowness in approving investments, the expropriation of private property, corruption, and exchange difficulties.

These were the most important factors that had kept businesses away from Africa, but in many African countries all, or almost all, of them were things of the past. Chissano insisted that the trend nowadays is to change the investment climate so that Africa is as ready to receive foreign investment as anywhere else. "Each country, and Africa in general, has taken measures that are being positively implemented so that these changes may be gradual and sustainable", he said. Among these measures were the consolidation of stability and the preservation of peace, better governance, the relaxation of exchange controls, and the liberalisation of domestic and foreign trade.

Chissano said that in Mozambique, and in general throughout the SADC (Southern African Development Community) region, it was certain that excellent conditions now exist to welcome Chinese investment. Mozambique enjoys lasting peace, and is constructing the necessary infrastructures, such as the development corridors linking the Mozambican ports of Maputo, Beira and Nacala to the neighbouring countries. Before the conference, Chissano had visited various economic undertakings in Sichuan, including an institute dedicated to agricultural research and improving the hybrid rice that is now being introduced into Mozambique. (Agencia de Informacao de Mocambique, Maputo)

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