This is the first time that the Afreximbank shareholders meeting is being held outside Africa. It is being hosted by China Eximbank at the China National Convention Center (CNCC), Beijing. The choice of venue highlights the growing economic ties between Africa and China which is now the largest trading partner with the continent.
Mr. Richard Kozul-Wright, head of UNCTAD's economic cooperation and integration among developing countries unit, delivered the UNCTAD statement on behalf of Dr. Supachai at a colloquium on "South-South cooperation under conditions of dynamic disequilibrium."
Attendees to the meeting included representatives from the African and Chinese banking communities, government representatives, including the Vice Premier of China, Mr. Wang Qishan, the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of China, Mr. Zhai Jun, and Mr. Sufian Ahmed, Minister of Finance and Economic Development of Ethiopia, as well as high level dignitaries including H.E. Joaquin Chissano, former President of Mozambique and H.E. Lusegun Obasanjo, former President of Nigeria.
The UNCTAD presentation expressed cautious optimism about the recent strong growth in the South and the accompanying rise of trade and investment flows among developing countries. The developing world's resilience to, and rebound from, the recent financial crisis marks an important break with the past and holds out the hope that an emerging South can bring about a more balanced and stable world economy, the presentation argued.
However, it was also noted that vulnerabilities remain with large differences among regions, with many emerging economies still dependent on the advanced economies and vulnerable to changes in policy and conditions there, as are being seen with the damaging contagion from the Eurozone debt crisis.
The UNCTAD presentation urged the countries of the South to maintain a virtuous circle between capital accumulation, structural change, productivity growth and rising domestic demand.