Standard Bank, the parent company of Stanbic IBTC Plc has affirmed its support to the Chinaâ€™s promise of $10 billion concessional loans to African countries.
The bank announced at theÂ Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) in Sharm el Sheikh, Egypt, that it remains committedÂ to ensuring that the opportunities arising from the China-Africa cooperation are beneficial for all parties.
FOCAC highlighted the progress made over the past three years and also laid down new initiatives which will continue to drive cooperation. These include Chinaâ€™s promise of US$10bn in Government concessional loans to African countries over the next three years and support for initiatives addressing climate change challenges in Africa.
Speaking at the Entrepreneurâ€™s Forum of FOCAC in Egypt recently,Craig Bond, Chief Executive of Standard Bank China said: â€œStandard Bank will work closely together with our Chinese partners to support the new and enhanced FOCAC initiatives, including advising Chinese companies on the tremendous opportunities in Africa, helping them mitigate the risks, and offering a complete range of banking solutions to these companies on the ground in African countries.â€
â€œThe US$10bn concessional loan initiative is highly commendable and I believe that the economic opportunities in Africa are tremendous and that much more than US$10bn of Chinese loan financing and investment will flow into Africa over the next three years. Much of this will be Chinese commercial bank financing and Chinaâ€™s commercial banks have both the liquidity and the appetite to step up their support for Chinaâ€™s trade and investment with Africa.â€â€œWith almost 150 years of experience on the African continent and through its strategic partnership with ICBC, Standard Bank is well-positioned to facilitate these commercial financing transactions for trade, infrastructure and investment projects, thereby expanding the financing opportunities available to Chinese and African companies, both large and small.â€
Craig Bond reaffirmed that building strong partnerships was crucial in ensuring that Chinaâ€™s overseas investment strategy was mutually beneficial for all parties involved, particularly for African countries. These partnerships should extend beyond Government-to-Government relations, deepening and broadening to include strong cooperation between Chinese and African businesses and growing understanding and trustbetween people.â€œChinaâ€™s open policy over the past 30 years has fundamentally and positively changed Chinaâ€™s global role. Chinaâ€™s economic growth has been creating opportunities for emerging economies to enter the global economy and grow their way out of underdevelopment and poverty. Chinaâ€™s growing influence has played a large part in Africaâ€™s recent economic successes.
Africaâ€™s underdeveloped infrastructure networks, laying the platform for future economic growth and human development.â€
â€œFor the next 30 years, Chinaâ€™s rapid industrialization and urbanization will require both resources and energy imports, and new markets for exports. Africa is not only a key source of Chinaâ€™s future resources imports but also a growing market for Chinaâ€™s increasingly high-tech exports. Africaâ€™s infrastructure networks require urgent renewal and Chinese construction companies have the
skills, financial support and strategic objective to meet this need. This interdependence will continue to drive strong, win-win cooperation between China and African countries.â€
Craig Bond added, â€œStandard Bank is well positioned to serve as a bridge connecting China with African countries to help establish and grow these mutually beneficial partnerships.â€
In May 2009, Standard Bank and ICBC announced that they would jointly arrange a US$825 million loan for 20 years to finance the Morupule B Power Station in Botswana, to be built by the China National Electric Equipment Corporation. This transaction is the largest commercial loan by a Chinese bank in Africa, and is regarded as one of the landmark deals in China-Africa cooperation over the past three years.
Besides facilitating transactions, Standard Bank also formed a specialized research team on BRIC-Africa initiatives to enhance the mutual understanding between China and Africa. Standard Bank and ICBC will also jointly hold a conference to serve as a platform for communication and interaction between Chinese and African business executives and government officials.
â€œFOCAC has highlighted the growing and healthy interdependence between China and African countries. Africa now truly needs China and China increasingly needs Africa.â€