PUBLIC Investment Corporation (PIC) CEO Elias Masilela on Thursday identified China as one of Africa’s "biggest risks”‚ saying the continent was becoming too dependent on the Asian giant too quickly‚ and that this would have serious consequences.
"We have seen in certain countries where they (Chinese) come in and dictate terms and say ‘We have given you the infrastructure … human capital. Do not regulate us‚’ and that is a huge risk‚” Mr Masilela said during a session at Ernst & Young’s strategic growth forum Africa 2013.
His comments come just a few weeks before South Africa hosts the fifth Brics (Brazil‚ Russia‚ India‚ China and South Africa) summit in Durban later this month‚ where the strengthening political and trade relations is likely to be the main focus.
China — which is also the world’s second-largest economy — has overtaken western countries to be the biggest trading partner of many African countries‚ investing significantly in infrastructure and the resource sectors.
"The dependency on that (Chinese) economy has grown too fast in a short space of time‚” said Mr Masilela‚ whose PIC is one of Africa’s largest investment managers. African countries needed to bring together their resources to ensure that they depended on "own capital” to fund projects and "rely less” on foreign capital‚ he said.
Mr Masilela was part of a panel discussing Africa’s infrastructure deficit and opportunities.
Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan said last week during a press conference ahead of his budget speech that there were trade imbalances between South Africa and China which the two countries were addressing.
Local manufacturers have called on the government to address the "flood of cheap imports”‚ which they say are negatively affecting some local industries‚ including textiles.
Panellists agreed that while China had helped with Africa’s infrastructure development‚ more still needed to be done‚ particularly on energy‚ road‚ rail and port infrastructure. © BDlive 2013