Special Envoy Huang Xia (center) addressing an audience of about 150 participants from the private sector
Hangzhou (China), 16 December 2019 – The Special Envoy of the Secretary-General for the Great Lakes Region, Huang Xia, has concluded his visit to Hangzhou and Beijing, China, as part of his mission to promote and raise awareness about the forthcoming Great Lakes Investment and Trade Conference (GLITC) to be held in Kigali, Rwanda, on 18-20 March 2020.
Mr. Xia who was accompanied by his Chief of Staff, Aniefiok Johnson, was also joined by the Executive Secretary of the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR), Zachary Muburi-Muita. The trip took place on December 15-16.
The China-Africa Business Council (CABC) mobilised around 150 individuals from the private sector based in Hangzhou province to attend the outreach event, which started with a video about investment and trade opportunities the Great Lakes Region has to offer.
Mr. Xia expressed appreciation for the support from the CABC and its member businesses and explained the general background of the GLITC in the context of the mandate of his office. He praised the pioneering spirit of entrepreneurs of Zhejiang, another province, and encouraged them to invest in Africa’s Great Lakes.
The CABC said the Great Lakes region has “great potential and opportunities” and encouraged the private sector to seize business and investment opportunities.
Mr. Muburi-Muita shared with the audience his vision of the region and the important role that the private sector in China and the Great Lakes region can play in helping local people to achieve that vision.
The Special Envoy was hosted by the Institute of African Studies at Zhejiang Normal University (IASZNU) which organised a roundtable discussion on the “Development Situation and Investment Opportunities in the Great Lakes Region”.
He stressed the importance of African studies and regretted the lack of high-level African scholarship in China. He encouraged Chinese researchers to enhance their studies on Africa, especially with regards to basic disciplines, to engage in more exchanges with African experts and to advance reliable suggestions to policymakers and the business community.
The Vice-President of Zhejiang Normal University, Prof. Pan Huiju, made a brief introduction of the university and the institute, whose objective is to develop a reputable Centre of African Studies specialising in academic research, international exchanges and policy consulting.
Mr. Muburi-Muita explained the global and local challenges the region was facing and the commitment of the governments of the region to find durable solutions through fit-for-purpose approaches that take into account the history and peculiarities of the countries of the region.
Mr. Johnson explained that the current challenges and situation of the region are understood from the colonial legacy. He said lack of good governance, which started when African countries gained independence, perpetuated conflicts.
Researchers from IASZNU made a brief presentation on their research on South Sudan, Uganda and Sudan, part of the 13 countries that signed the Peace, Security and Cooperation (PSC) Framework for the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and the region.
Mr. Johnson and Mr. Muburi-Muita met representatives from the World Youth Leaders Union (WYLU). The WYLU brings together young entrepreneurs, and its objective is to provide a platform where young people in business can exchange ideas and network to find better business opportunities.
The Peace, Security and Cooperation Framework Agreement (PSC-F) signatory countries convened the Great lakes Investment and Trade Conference (GLITC) as a follow-up action to the first Private Sector Investment Conference, held in 2016 in Kinshasa. The mobilization of private sector investment into the region to harness the extensive natural resources endowments and existing economic opportunities could be catalytic in creating shared prosperity and destiny. On the long run, private sector investment bears the potential to contribute to the collective efforts towards sustainable peace, stability and the transformation of the Great Lakes region. Thus, the Conference will focus on cross-border trade and investment, as catalysts for regional integration.