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September 14, 2008

Chinese investment in Africa increasingly focuses on agriculture

Chinese investment in Africa is expanding beyond a race to secure minerals and energy sources to put an increasing focus on agriculture, the chief executive of Standard Chartered Bank said on September 10.

Standard Chartered, with deep historic roots in Asia and Africa, believes it has benefited more than any other bank from the growing trade between China and Africa -- expected to reach $100 billion in 2008.

Group Chief Executive Peter Sands said China's interest in Africa was clearly moving beyond the search for minerals and energy supplies for its booming economy, which has in recent years propelled Africa's fastest growth for decades.

"The focus is changing. What's interesting is how much more focus they're putting on exports to Africa and on agriculture, commercial agriculture," Sands told a meeting of the Royal African Society in London.

"It (Chinese investment) is more sustainable and has more complexity. This relationship is delivering substantial benefits to Africa."

Chinese imports from Africa -- largely crude oil and minerals -- rose 92 percent to $30 billion in the first half of the year, while its exports to the continent -- mostly manufactured consumer goods -- rose 40 percent to $23 billion.

Sands said Indian and Middle East companies were also investing more in the search for resources from Africa, although the scale of that was still well behind the investment from China.


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