A two-day investment forum opened in Morocco’s Marrakesh on Monday as China seeks to revive ancient Silk Road trade routes from Asia to Europe and Africa.
“The question is how to accelerate cooperation in the field of investment,” said Wang Yong, vice president of the China-Africa Development Fund.
The event brings together 400 business executives including 150 from China.
Morocco’s Industry Minister Moulay Hafid Ellalamy said China and Africa “share the same quest for development”.
“The Silk Road initiative will change the map of international trade,” he said, adding that trade and cooperation were already at “unprecedented” levels.
The “One Belt, One Road” initiative, unveiled by Xi Jinping’s presidency in 2013, envisages linking China with Africa, Asia and Europe through a network of ports, railways, roads and industrial parks.
“China needs Africa and Africa needs China. We want to tighten ties together,” said Tony Dong, executive president of the Sino-European Entrepreneurs Federation.
He said Chinese came to Marrakesh “for investment opportunities”.
“The Chinese make business partners all over the world,” he added.
China is Africa’s key business partner, with trade reaching $190bn in 2016, according to figures released at the forum.
Around 10 000 Chinese industrial enterprises operate in Africa, generating annual business of more than $60bn.
Last year, China was the top foreign investor in Africa with $31.6bn, the figures given at the forum showed.
By the end of 2016, Chinese companies had contributed to projects including railways, highways, ports, airports and power stations in Africa.