Tianjin, China — MININGREVIEW.COM — 16 November 2010 – There is a very real need for Chinese companies with their eyes on African mineral resources to desist from making closed-door deals, and to become more transparent in their investments throughout the continent.
Taking this standpoint, World Bank managing director Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala told Reuters here on the sidelines of one of China’s biggest mining conferences that investors in Africa needed to work more with local communities in order to avoid conflicts, and eventually to even reduce costs.
“China’s investment is welcome “’ Africa has an investment deficit and there is room for everyone “’ but investment needs to have sound principles whether it is from China, Europe or the United States,” she said.
In her address to the conference, Okonjo-Iweala urged miners to consider a more value-added approach to investment in Africa, creating local jobs rather than just stripping away the continent’s resources and shipping them home.
According to World Bank calculations, Africa needs an additional US$31 billion (R213 million) a year in foreign investment in order to build the infrastructure needed to drive its economy forward. Furthermore, energy or transportation projects need to play a significant role in the plans of big foreign mining companies, she said.
China’s investments in Africa have come under increasing scrutiny, and it has faced accusations of propping up rogue governments in order to gain access to some of the continent’s most promising deposits of oil and minerals.
Okonjo-Iweala said she did not want to discuss specific cases, but said China’s propensity for closed-door government-to-government deals was part of the problem.