“Wo Mai Dan, Sao Wo Wei Xin (Chinese pinyin, meaning ‘it's my treat, please scan my WeChat’)”, was the fluent Chinese spoken by GZ Expat BABY Aly Sidy at a café on Taojin Road, the heart of Guangzhou’s downtown area.
Aly comes from Mali, the second largest country in west Africa. Having been living in China for 8 years, he is working in the cross-border e-commerce business in Guangzhou and has established his own company here.
The Africa Guangdong Business Association (AGBA) was established in Nairobi, Capital of Kenya on Aug.3rd [Photo provided to Newsgd.com]
Meanwhile, in Nairobi, Capital of Kenya, the Africa Guangdong Business Association (AGBA) is gearing up for establishing an investment fund, which aims at facilitating sustainable development for Chinese and Cantonese enterprises in Africa. Tracy Huo, vice-chairman of AGBA, who has visited dozens of African countries over the past ten years, is now serving as a “bridge builder” for the China-Africa partnership.
The Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC), which is to be convened in Beijing on September 3rd and 4th, will witness the beginning of a new chapter in China-Africa relations. Driven by the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), Guangdong continues to foster economic and cultural cooperation with Africa. There are more and more “bridge builders” like Aly and Huo springing up.
Seeking “gold” and opportunities
Many newly-arrived African businessmen choose to settle in Taojin and Xiaobei, which is near Bao Han Zhi Street, one of the largest migrant communities in the city. This bustling street is a microcosm of the billion-dollar trade boom between African nations and China.
BABY Aly Sidy with his two kids [Photo/Steven, Newsgd.com]
During the first few days starting up his business in Guangzhou, Aly always went to Xiao Bei where many other Africans go to purchase goods. He helped them book hotels and call taxis because he spoke Chinese very well.
“They wanted to exchange contacts and make friends with me. They asked me if I could help them buy goods.” Consequently, Aly forged connections in the city.
Now, as e-commerce is booming in China, he prefers to use online channels more often as it takes much less time and it is more convenient. He showed us several cellphone apps, such as Taobao and 1688.
“These have been a great help to me,” he said with much delight, “I don’t even have to leave my office or house.”
Many Cantonese enterprises have also performed excellently by seizing the opportunities brought by BRI and drumming up business in Africa.
“On the basis of their complementary advantages, Chinese state-owned enterprises and private enterprises will promote infrastructure development and boost the economies in African countries”, said Liu Jisen, Deputy Secretary of Guangdong Institute for International Strategies.
Motivated by BRI, the cooperation between Guangdong and Africa has expanded across agriculture, tourism, education, finance and culture sectors.
According to Huo Dongming, the Head of DD Brother Group, “the deepening friendship between China and Africais attracting Cantonese enterprises to invest in more diverse areas.”
Since 2012, his corporation has invested in Tanzania, Malawi and Congo in precast concrete pipe infrastructure, networking and education charities. He thinks that Chinese enterprises should work on projects that will benefit African people so as to receive public support and lay a solid foundation for future cooperation.