INSIGHTS: China announces $1 billion belt and road Africa fund

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Announced July 3 on the sidelines of the Summer Davos Meeting World Economic Forum in Dalian, China, this $1 billion investment fund also achieves another first—in that it will not be run by the state government—thus being China’s first “NGO.” It will also notably be led, not by a Chinese, but by a South African.

Intended to be up and running by September, this fund—to be capitalized by wealthy Chinese businessmen and their families—will be headed by Dr. Iqbal Survé, “born and educated in Cape Town” (according to his website). Survé had started his own Sekunjalo investment fund in 1997, leaving his medical career at the call of Nelson Mandela, who was seeking local investors to lead the development of the economy.

Since then Survé came to serve as chair of the BRICS Business Council for South Africa, and most recently as a member of the Business Council Chairman for the five BRICS countries. A hedge fund operator he definitely is not.

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Commenting from China, Dr. Survé said, “The discussions that we’ve had with Chinese business people, state-owned enterprises and family offices, have resulted in the establishment of this fund. Africa is ready to grow and is heading towards a $5 trillion economy. The [Africans] have seen how China was able to grow from 1980, when China made up only 2% of the global GDP when compared to today, where China makes up 19% of the global GDP. This fund is a great boost for the development of Africa.”The fund will be overseen by a Belt and Road Business Council, eventually to grow to 1,000 Chinese and African members.

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