More than just pure business dollars, China urged to invest in social development across Africa.
Alasan Senghore, director of Africa zone at the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies has spoken out, challenging China to focus on more than just business investment in Africa, but to look into social projects such as building hospitals.
“There are a lot of Chinese investments in Africa nowadays, and when they profit, they should take on corporate social responsibilities as well, especially at the community level,” he told China Daily in an interview on the sidelines of the Sino-African Red Cross and Red Crescent Forum.
The forum was held by the Red Cross Society of China to highlight Africa’s need for humanitarian aid and the search for new approaches.
By 2011, Chinese investment in Africa reached 92.8 billion yuan (US$14.7 billion), covering mainly finance, mining, manufacturing, agriculture and construction, according to the Ministry of Commerce.
At least 2,000 Chinese companies have run businesses on the continent.
“They are contributing to African development in general, but we hope they can go a bit further than that and cooperate more with grassroots level organizations like the local Red Cross,” Senghore said.
Over the past 60 years, China’s foreign aid totaled more than 256 billion yuan, half of which went to Africa, official statistics showed.
“China helped Africa build roads, railways, bridges and fantastic government buildings. However, it’s mainly national and government-level contributions,” he said.
“Actually, more community-level aid projects also help Chinese enterprises in Africa and their business substantially as well,” he said.
In Africa, local companies actually compete with Chinese businesses.
“We’d like to see more Chinese investment in social welfare issues to help directly improve local people’s livelihood,” he said.
“If the Chinese better fulfilled their social responsibility, it would help address the tension resulting from business competition, and build African people’s trust and confidence in them,” he said.
China Daily/Asia News Network