Interview: Chinese market unlocks huge opportunities for global investors -- African banking executive
16 Jan 2024


China has played a phenomenal role in global trade, is committed to protecting intellectual property rights, and has hastened institutional reforms, says an African banking executive.


NAIROBI, Jan. 15 (Xinhua) -- The Chinese market remains an attractive destination for global investors, including multinational financial institutions with a large footprint in Africa, given China's accelerated pace of reform and opening up, a banking executive has said.


James Agin, managing principal of the Corporate and Investment Banking Division at Absa Bank Kenya PLC, said a vibrant Chinese economy has unlocked opportunities for global investors, including banks.


"The whole opening up of the Chinese economy worked quite well for global trade and economy," Agin said during a recent interview with Xinhua in the Kenyan capital of Nairobi.


While underscoring China's pivotal role as an engine of global economic growth, Agin said China has attracted international firms thanks to its strengths, including advanced technologies, a skilled workforce, a huge consumer base, and an edge in low-cost production.


China has played a phenomenal role in global trade, is committed to protecting intellectual property rights, and has hastened institutional reforms, hence its ability to attract foreign companies keen to expand their profit margins, Agin said.


He noted that China's reform and opening up has facilitated the uninterrupted flow of goods and services while the country's indigenous companies have fostered global economic growth.


"We are seeing very big Chinese brands, Chinese companies actually playing a pivotal role in the global economy," Agin said.


The vast Chinese market brings immense opportunities to the world, Agin said, citing the higher spending power of Chinese consumers as the country focuses on inclusive economic development.


Satisfying the huge demand for essential products like Kenyan avocados in the Chinese market has also presented new opportunities for foreign agribusiness firms, Agin said.


He added that China's bilateral trade partners have been able to develop local manufacturing in their bid to boost the export of processed goods to the Asian nation.


"Other economies can now start benefiting not (only) from getting goods from China but also supplying into the Chinese economy," said Agin.


China still occupies a strategic place in global and African economies, securing the confidence of global institutional investors like banks, Agin said, revealing Absa Bank's intention to establish a footprint in the Chinese market.


"The next big frontier was to have an office presence in China. As a group, from a strategic perspective, our presence in China is critical for the continued success of enhancing trade between the continent of Africa and China," Agin said.


He noted that robust China-Kenya trade relations have boosted foreign currency flows into the Kenyan economy while investments from Beijing have injected vitality into key sectors like housing, energy, infrastructure, and manufacturing.


Agin said Absa has partnered with the China Development Bank, helping the lender gain access to Chinese industries and investors while boosting its capacity to finance projects.


He said this partnership with the China Development Bank has also enabled the lender to fulfill some of its core objectives, such as deepening and enhancing the involvement of Chinese businesses in Africa.


According to Agin, Absa Bank has set up a pan-African team to cater to Chinese businesses, adding that sensitivity to cultural nuances has been key to cementing ties with Chinese clients.


Last year, Absa Bank announced the setting up of a China desk staffed with Mandarin-speaking professionals to offer a range of services to investors from the Asian nation and deepen trade relations with Kenya, he said.


Source: Xinhua