Cape Town (AFP) March 16, 2010
African states should harness Chinese interest as Beijing's demand for commodities drives growth on the continent and fuels capital investments, an energy conference heard on Tuesday.
China's investment model in Africa, characterised by long-term capital concessional financing, was a developmental "no-brainer," Martyn Davies, head of the Frontier Advisory firm, told the Oil and Gas Africa expo.
"It's very strategic and it's very long-term. The model works provided the extraction continues to take place and the oil continues to flow," he told conference delegates.
Africa and China, which imports a quarter of its oil from the continent, had shown parallel growth patterns since 2000 as energy-hungry Beijing went in search of new oil sources beyond traditional markets, said Davies.
"Africa needs to create the best enabling environment. China's interest in Africa is ours to lose," he told AFP on the sidelines of the conference.
"China's commodity demand is underpinning Africa's growth performance. As trade supply links become more entrenched, a component of China's growth depends on Africa's ability to supply," he said.
China's building up of trade and economic ties with Africa has drawn accusations that the country has taken a "neo-colonialist" attitude toward the continent.
Beijing also has been criticised for befriending pariah regimes in Sudan and Zimbabwe in a cynical bid to lock up supplies of resources needed to fuel expansion of its economy, the world's third largest.
earlier related report
China had a total of 768,000 workers abroad at end-February, 57,000 more than a year ago, official data showed. Separate figures for workers in Africa were not available.
The following is a list of major kidnap incidents in Africa that involved Chinese nationals:
January 5: NIGERIA: Five Chinese working for a telecoms company are captured in the southern state of Rivers. They are freed 12 days later.
January 25: NIGERIA: Nine employees of the China National Petroleum Company are taken hostage in the oil-producing southern state of Bayelsa. They are freed 10 days later as Chinese President Hu Jintao visits Africa.
March 17: NIGERIA: Two Chinese workers are abducted in the southeastern state of Anambra. One is freed by a police raid in early June; the fate of the other is not known.
April 24: ETHIOPIA: A separatist group attacks a Chinese-run oil operation in the Ogaden region of eastern Ethiopia, killing 77 people including nine Chinese workers, and abducting seven other Chinese, who are released six days later.
May 6: NIGERIA: Three Chinese workers are captured from a building site in the southern state of Cross River. They are freed three days later.
October 18: SUDAN: Nine Chinese employees of the China National Petroleum Corporation are seized by rebels in the disputed Abyei region, near western Darfur. Five are killed and four freed later.
November 14: SOMALIA: Pirates operating off the Somali coast capture a Chinese fishing boat and its 24 Chinese crew members. They are released the following February.
October 18: SEYCHELLES: Somali pirates seize a Chinese cargo vessel and its 25 crew members off the Seychelles islands. All are freed in December after payment of a ransom.
March 12: Seven Chinese are seized along with their fishing boat in international waters off the Bakassi peninsula in Cameroon.
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