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BRI industry parks bolster African links

2019-12-31 09:59:19 China Daily

Infrastructure provides opportunities to attract investment, create more jobs

Infrastructure provides opportunities to attract investment, create more jobs

Chinese-built industrial zones under the Belt and Road Initiative, or BRI, have become effective platforms for African countries to learn about China's development experiences and realize their industrial transformation.

Hisham AbuBakr Metwally, an economics researcher with the Egyptian Ministry of Foreign Trade and Industry, said that while African countries are striving to catch up on the industrialization front, such joint economic zones with China give them opportunities to attract investment as well as to learn about best practices when it comes to China's economic development.

"Such industrial zones under the BRI support growth in Africa and help the continent achieve employment goals," he said.

Data from the General Administration of Customs showed that Chinese companies invested $34 billion in overseas economic and trade cooperation zones in BRI related countries, and about 4,500 Chinese companies have established operations in the zones. And they have paid $2.8 billion as taxes and fees to local governments and created more than 300,000 jobs for locals.

On the Africa continent, there are currently 25 Chinese-built industrial zones, which have created more than 40,000 jobs for locals and paid nearly $1.1 billion of taxes to local governments, Qian Keming, vice-minister of commerce said at a news conference in June. And he said that China is encouraging the construction of more industrial zones in Africa.

These industrial zones are defined by the Ministry of Commerce as industrial parks that are independent legal entities established overseas by Chinese companies. They have complete infrastructure, clear industrial development strategies, and provide public services to companies in it.

One of the flagship projects is the Chinese-built Eastern Industry Zone, which is 30 kilometers from Addis Ababa, the capital of Ethiopia. It is also Ethiopia's only overseas industrial zone at the national level.