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Experts: better services for Africans in Guangzhou to promote China-Africa cooperation
Update: 2018-08-31     Source: newsgd.com

BABY Aly Sidy, an African merchant living in Guangzhou for over 6 years, is doing business with a local supplier in Dashatou 

The Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) 2018 Beijing Summit is scheduled for Sept. 3rd to 4th in the Chinese capital.

Established 18 years ago in Beijing, the FOCAC has achieved fruitful results and has become a significant symbol of China-Africa cooperation.

Many experts share their analyses on African businesspeople in Guangzhou who have facilitated China-Africa trade, and offer suggestions on improving services for these Africans to promote China-Africa cooperation.

Africans living in Guangzhou. (File photo from thepaper.com)

Guangzhou as an “El Dorado” for Africans

Professor Mao Guomin of the Guangdong University of Foreign Studies (GDUFS) describes Guangzhou as an “El Dorado” for Africans—63.1% of the 13.1 thousand Africans in Guangzhou are involved in commercial activities.

With a good environment, high openness to the outside world and in particular a small-commodity market that provides a full range of goods at lower prices and offers higher profits, Guangzhou has attracted many African businessmen for over 20 years.

Professor Zhang Zhenjiang and Post-Dr. Niu Dong of Jinan University (JNU) believe that Guangzhou, as an important international port city and center of transportation, logistics, goods and information, provides business opportunities and serves as a perfect transfer city for African businesspeople.

Furthermore, living in Guangzhou, a city near Hong Kong and Macao, can reduce the transportation cost needed for the renewal of the China business visa (M visa).

According to Professor Zhou Daming and Dr. Zhou Aihua of the Sun Yat-sen University (SYSU), most Africans own small or medium-sized enterprises back in Africa set up for China-Africa trade. They stay in Guangzhou for a month and return home after purchasing large quantities of goods including low-end electronics, textiles, and construction materials, etc.

Some stay here for temporary transit and leave after purchasing small quantities of goods.

Others staying in Guangzhou for more than 3 months are on long-term business postings for major African multinational corporations, or have their own companies registered in Guangzhou. Some of these Africans even got married or gained residency in China.

Tabou rendered the famous Chinese song 'Jasmine' on 2018 Africa Day, Guangzhou [Photo / Steven, Newsgd.com]

Tabou presented singing performance on 2018 Africa Day, Guangzhou [Photo/Steven, Newsgd.com]

Introduce policies and institutions to attract foreign talents

As for improving services for Africans in Guangzhou, Professor Zhou and Dr. Zhou of SYSU made the following proposals.

According to them, strengthen immigration awareness on all fronts. Governments should introduce policies and institutions to attract international talents, especially skilled workers and investors, and set up service agencies in immigrant communities. It is the role of the media to help the public know more about immigrants’ cultures.

The second proposal is to regulate the development of immigrant communities. An excellent example is Dengfeng Community, which has become a new highlight of Guangzhou through improved regulation.

Meanwhile, outsourced non-governmental social service agencies should be involved deeply. For instance, Dengfeng Community Family Integrated Services Center is paid by the government to provide services including housing rental consultancy, translation, policy consultancy, medical assistance, etc., according to diverse needs of foreigners living in the city.

Professor Mao of GDUFS adds that more services should be improved by enhancing M visa policies, letting African overseas students volunteer in service programs for foreigners, and providing more Chinese courses for Africans in Guangzhou.

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