Remarks by Chinese Ambassador to Ghana H.E. Mdm. Sun Baohong at Infrastructure Investment Forum (Ghana) 2016
(October 19th, 2016)
Your Honorable John Abdulai Jinapor, Deputy Minister of Power of the Republic of Ghana,
Respected Mr. Zhou Chao, Vice President of the China Africa Development Fund (CADFund),
Ghanaian and Chinese Entrepreneurs,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
I am very delighted to be part of this Infrastructure Investment Forum and wish to extend my heart-felt congratulations on the event and warm welcome to all the participants, especially the delegation of China Africa Development Fund and Chinese entrepreneurs coming from afar.
Investment has become an increasingly important topic in the contemporary global economic governance as well as bilateral cooperation. China has become the second largest outbound investor in the world. In 2015 the outbound investment made by China exceeded the foreign investment it drew in. In recent years, China has flashed out "the Belt and Road Initiative" and the establishment of Asia Infrastructure Investment Bank and registered abundant early harvest. Last month, led by China, the successfully-held G20 Hanzhou Summit formulated for the first time in the history of G20 the guiding principles for global investment policies. Not long ago, a Chinese enterprise consortium got the approval of the British government in the investment of Hinkley Point Nuclear Power Plant. Last Monday I was invited to participate in the Grand Opening of the new Ghana Airport Cargo Centre, the state-of-art complex of the joint venture with Swissport. I was very proud to be there not only because that China Hainan Aviation Group invested together with CadFund and Ghanaian partner Africa World Airlines in this country, but also because Hanan Aviation Group acquired successfully in the first half of this year Swissport, one of the most important airport ground handling services providers in the world.
Ghana is a traditional friend and an important development partner of China. The comprehensive, multiform, far-ranging and high-level economic and trade cooperation has become a striking characteristic of our friendly relations. China is the largest trading nation of Ghana. In 2015, China-Ghana trade volume registered US$6.6 billion, increasing by 18.2% and ranked the 6th in that of Africa. China's non-financial direct investment inflows into Ghana hit US$174 million, raising the investment stock of China in Ghana to US$1.3 billion. The value of China's newly-signed contracts in Ghana reached around US$1.3 billion.
Since the beginning of this year, our economic and trade cooperation has maintained sound momentum of development. In the first half of the year, China-Ghana trade volume reached US$2.8 billion, remaining the 6th place in that of Africa. China's non-financial direct investment inflows into Ghana hit US$73.87 million, ranking 8th in that of Africa.
These achievements are not easy to make. Currently, the recovery of the world economy is sluggish; global trade and investment are lackluster; commodities and financial markets have experienced volatility from time to time; growth prospects of developed and emerging economies are diverging; and geopolitical risks and destabilizing factors are both on the rise. The World Bank and IMF have cut the 2016 global growth forecast to the tune of 2.4% and 3.1% respectively. The growth of global trade has fallen below 3% for 5 consecutive years. The global FDI flows is likely to withdraw by 10% to 20%. Moreover, the rising trade protectionism, isolationism, populism and waves of anti-liberalization and anti-globalization are setting extra obstacles for the recovery of world economy.
Against this backdrop, the developing countries are grappling with problems such as economic slowdown, tightening fiscal situation, surging albatross of debts and currency devaluation. China's economy has stepped into a new normal, facing a myriad of thorny problems. However, the Chinese government puts development as its top priority, outlines the five development concepts of innovation, coordination, green growth, opening up and sharing, deepens structural reforms especially the supply-side reform, and concentrate its efforts on cultivating new drivers of growth while upgrading traditional ones to expand effective supply and pursue a more balanced, inclusive and sustainable development. In the first half of 2016, China's GDP grew by 6.7%, ranking among top of the world's major economies in terms of growth speed, and made positive progress in structural adjustment. On the whole, despite challenges, China's economy is better structured; its quality is improving and a stronger momentum is being gathered. China is still a major powerhouse for global development.
China believes that when everybody adds fuel, the flames rise high. As long as the global community makes joint efforts to tackle challenges, strengthen confidence, foster a stable international environment and find solutions to address root causes of the problems, we can tame the economic crisis and reactivate economic recovery. As a major responsible country, China is obliged to play its role. On the global level, the Chinese side chose "Toward an Innovative, Invigorated, Interconnected and Inclusive World Economy" as the theme of the Hangzhou Summit, listing "breaking a new path for growth", "more effective and efficient global economic and financial governance", "robust international trade and investment" and "inclusive and interconnected development" as the key priorities, and worked with all sides to deliver major outcomes including "work out a blue print for innovative-driven growth", "adopt a global trade strategy", "lay out the guiding principles for global investment policies" and "initiate cooperation to support industrialization of Africa and least developed countries in the world" to build a fair, just and open global economic system.
On the regional level, China is moving forward "the Belt and Road Initiative", "China-Africa Ten Major Cooperation Plans" as well as other interconnection strategies. People follow with great interest the Addis Ababa–Djibouti Railway, which connects the capitals of Ethiopia and Djibouti. It was inaugurated on 5ththis month. The Railway, which used Chinese loans and technology and is the first fully electrified modern railway in Africa with China's construction standard, successfully narrows the logistics time between two cities from 3 days to 10 hours. The line undertook the task of carrying emergency food aid to famine-stricken people of Ethiopia before the formal operation. In this sense, the Addis Ababa–Djibouti Railway is a lifeline of East Africa, and a way to achieve development and prosperity.
Ghana is in the process of economic transformation and industrialization. It needs foreign investment to give impetus to economic growth, restructure economy, increase employment and improve people's livelihood. I think the two countries should take the opportunity of implementing the follow-up actions of the Johannesburg Summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) and focus more on investment in infrastructure and industrial capacity. However, with the rapid increase of Chinese investment in Ghana, challenges that Chinese enterprises meet with become prominent than ever. It is thought-provoking how to promote China's investment in Ghana in a healthy and stable manner. I want to share my views with participants today.
First, we should strengthen exchanges of ideas. After years of reform and opening up, China has accumulated abundant advanced ideas on development and practices. China is ready to enhance exchanges of experiences on governance with Ghana so as to learn from each other, jointly build up our capacity, and pave the way for the alignment of our policies and development strategies. We should entrench the concept of win-win cooperation for common development. Only by this can both sides enhance trust and conduct cooperation from a long-term perspective.
Second, we should enhance institution-building, giving full play to one's own advantages. Chinese government and financial institutions including CadFund should give play to advantage of various policies, encourage credible Chinese enterprises to make investment in Africa, and especially encourage them to innovate cooperation mode, increase the technology contents and added value, elevate the level of localization and internationalization, and set up new brand and image. Ghana should further improve environment for investment. In China we say only you plant the Firmiana tree, can you attract the golden phoenix. We hope Ghana will strengthen long-term overall planning, intensify the policy consistency, transparency and implementation capacity, improve services and resolutely protect the legitimate rights of investors. Short-term behaviour such as killing the goose that lays the golden eggs or draining the pond to get all the fish leads us to nowhere.
Third, we should focus on the major projects that have significant bearing on Ghana's national development. Big projects have a very strong leading role and can also pull the development of numerous industries. China is willing to study in a serious manner the investment in energy, power, refining, water supply, agricultural processing, waste management, logistics as well as overall regional development, implement more projects in Ghana and enhance Ghana's capacity for sustainable self-development. We should stick to intensive development and pay attention to a coordinated layout of infrastructure construction and industry development so that effective investment can be ensured and both sides can reinforce each other.
Fourth, we should properly handle the problems in our cooperation. As our cooperation goes wider and deeper, some problems will arise inevitably. We should abide by the spirit of mutual respect and win-win cooperation, and solve the problems through friendly negotiation. Just as Chinese President H.E. Mr. Xi Jinping said during his visit to Tanzania in 2013, "There will always be more opportunities than challenges and more solutions than difficulties." As long as our two countries make concerted efforts, we can resolve any problem we meet and do anything we want.
Today's Infrastructure Investment Forum is also a very important platform. I appreciate the initiative of CadFund in setting up this platform and hope that in the future it can be institutionalized so as to facilitate exchange of views and governance experience between China and Ghana and Africa at large. It is my sincere hope that all the participants will be open up to each other, promote better understanding and reach broad consensus so that this Forum will make great contribution to the complementarity of one another's advantages, mutual beneficial cooperation and bring tangible results to peoples of China and Ghana.