by Xinhua writer Hu Tao
BEIJING, May 9 (Xinhua) -- The China Africa Development Fund (CAD Fund) has worked to boost China-Africa cooperation during a "golden period" of partnership, said a senior fund official on Friday in Beijing.
The CAD Fund is a private equity fund for market-oriented cooperation, said Hu Zhirong, deputy CEO and executive vice president with the fund.
Chinese Premier Li Keqiang proposed that China and Africa upgrade their cooperation during his eight-day trip to Africa.
"China will, as always, continue to increase its assistance to Africa in both quantity and quality to the best of its ability, ensuring that more than half of its foreign aid goes to Africa," said Li at a World Economic Forum on Africa in the Nigerian capital on Thursday.
China and Africa are both growth poles of the world economy and are complementary partners in this economic transformation period, said Hu.
"As a state-level platform, the CAD Fund plays the role of bridging and connecting China and Africa, as well as governments and companies," Hu said.
The CAD Fund is one of eight measures announced by the Chinese government during the Beijing Summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation in 2006, with a target to grow to five billion U.S. dollars.
Launched in June 2007, the Beijing-based fund is China's first fund focusing on investment in Africa. It is operated in a market-oriented manner as a supplement to the traditional model of China-Africa economic and trade cooperation.
To date, promised investment has reached 2.8 billion U.S. dollars, all from the China Development Bank. The fund has also leveraged 15 billion U.S. dollars from Chinese companies to Africa.
China's decision to inject another two billion U.S. dollars into the fund is quite an affirmation and support for the CAD Fund, said Hu.
"Africa has become a region with dynamic development and excellent natural resources. As Premier Li said, it is a new pole in global economic growth," said Hu.
The CAD Fund strives to bring China's investment and development experience to African countries, committing to help them sustain themselves through productive industries and projects, he said.
In the seven years since its inauguration, the fund has consistently brought changes to Africa. It introduced a glassworks plant in Ethiopia, the first in the country and region.
Also in Ethiopia, the fund has invested in a leather processing factory with daily production of 10,000 pieces of high-quality leather. The project has created employment for 50,000 households and become the country's largest exporter.
Cotton planting and processing projects introduced by the fund have benefited about 600,000 people in Zambia, Mozambique and Zimbabwe among other African countries.
The fund has also successfully introduced a wireless digital television network to Africa. To date, its television signal covers one hundred million people in Africa, with three million households in eleven countries using the service.
"These projects, which are close to people's livelihood by providing them employment and enriching their lives, have promoted China's image," said Hu.
"The furthering of China-Africa development is based on a sound foundation of interconnection in communications, telecommunications, power supply and other infrastructure," he said.
The fund has invested in Africa World Airlines (AWA) in Ghana for regional aviation services. Since the airline was launched in Sept. 2012, it has opened domestic and international routes to neighboring Nigeria.
The fund is planning additional steps in aviation and railway networks, which are both badly needed in Africa.
"China and Africa are embracing a strategic opportunity with mutual needs and openings. Industrial connections will drive both sides to create an upgraded version of China-Africa cooperation," said Hu.
The CAD Fund will bridge the market and government efforts to expand cooperation in investment and financing for sustainable development in Africa, Hu added.