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2016 Ministerial Workshop on Building Economic & Trade Legal System for African Countries

Release Time: 2017-01-18 Page View:

The 2016 Ministerial Workshop on Building Economic & Trade Legal System for African Countries was successfully held in Beijing and Shanghai from October 18th to 27th, 2016. This workshop, jointly hosted by the Academy for International Business Officials and China Legal Exchange Center, had attracted 21 high judicial and business officials from 8 African countries such as Cameroon, Ghana, Mauritius, Nigeria, South Sudan, Sudan, Tanzania and Zimbabwe. Members of the workshop also included 3 honorable ministerial officials: Madam Margret Bol, Hon. Chair Person of Legislation and Justice Committee of TNLA South Sudan Juba; Mr. Linus Mendjana, Director-General of Cameroon National School of Administration and Magistracy; Mr. Ibrahim Auta, Chief Judge of Federal High Court of Nigeria.

 
This high-ranking workshop received warm welcome and great support from China Law Society and other co-organizers. In Beijing and Shanghai, workshop members were invited to the Conference on Legal Risks and Countermeasures of International Investment and Trade and the Seminar on Legal Guarantee for Sino-African Economic and Trade Cooperation; visited Shanghai University of International Business and Economics, Hongqiao Business Park, G60 High-tech Corridor, China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation and China Longgong Ltd.; toured the Forbidden City and the Great Wall.  
 
I. Academic Exchanges
a. The Conference on Legal Risks and Countermeasures of International Investment and Trade
 
The Conference on Legal Risks and Countermeasures of International Investment and Trade hosted by China Law Society attracted more than 200 international delegates from 24 countries and areas. Chinese and African enterprisers, lawyers and scholars carried out in-depth discussions on topics of sustainable development, the rule-of-law in Sino-African economic and trade cooperation, intellectual property issues in international investment and trade, risks of overseas litigation and arbitration, the prevention and control of Chinese enterprises foreign investment disputes, and exchanged valuable business information, advices and opportunities.
 
Mr. Linus Mendjana, Director-General of Cameroon National School of Administration and Magistracy addressed at the opening ceremony, expressing the will to establish a long-term connection with the Chinese legal circle and carry out personnel training programs, on behalf of ENAM and himself.
 
At the Sino-African Summit --- International Investment Legal Environment & Sustainable Development, Madam Margret Bol, Hon. Chair Person of Legislation and Justice Committee of TNLA South Sudan Juba and Mr. Ibrahim Auta, Chief Judge of Federal High Court of Nigeria, discussed the prospects of Sino-African legal and economic cooperation with Chinese delegates. Mr. Auta answered Chinese businessmen’s questions regarding investment in Nigeria and called on the legal professions to “play a more positive role in the Sino-African economic and trade relations”.
 
Many Chinese delegates expressed that they cherished this opportunity to communicate with African leaders and officials, for in their eyes, the continent of Africa was the “center of the next century”.   
 
b. The Seminar on Legal Guarantee for Sino-African Economic and Trade Cooperation
 
The Seminar on Legal Guarantee for Sino-African Economic and Trade Cooperation held by the Law School of Shanghai University of International Business and Economics focused on the legal issues which were frequently encountered by Chinese businessmen in Africa. Topics of the seminar included Chinese manufacturing enterprises in Africa: institutions dynamic capabilities and performance, investment initiatives—the gap between commitment and action ,legal system for Chinese overseas investment enterprises.
 
Mr. He Liehui, Vice-President of Shanghai International Chamber of Commerce and the Chairman of Touch Road Group shared his 20-year experience of doing business in Africa, hoping African countries could further improve the administrative efficiency, implement preferential policies, relax the foreign exchange control and streamline their visa process to promote and safeguard the smooth economic and trade exchanges between China and Africa.
 
African workshop members responded that they acknowledged the importance of Chinese investment to the economic development of Africa and expressed their willingness to help.   
 
Mr. Dawarnoba Baeka, Chief-Director of Ghana Ministry of Trade & Industry introduced Ghana government’s friendly attitude towards Chinese investors and their simple and convenient visa application process. “You could come to me and Ghana MIT if you do have a problem”, he added, “But I also suggest that Chinese government should strengthen quality control of export commodities to re-build the reputation of Chinese goods.”
 
Mr. Ibrahim Auta, Chief Judge of Federal High Court of Nigeria suggested investors to take full advantage of intergovernmental agreements between China and Nigeria. “Asking for your embassy for help when you are facing political risks, this method is very pragmatic,” he said.  
             
Ms. Abel Andzongo, Sub-Director of Cameroon ENAM, expressed her confidence in the future and said, “Cameroon ENAM is currently carrying out a training program for brilliant and efficient public servants.”
 
After the seminar, Chinese businessmen thanked all workshop officials and exchanged business cards with them. Mr. He highly commended the seminar, saying  it was “the small talk that solved big problems”.
 
II. Professional Visits to Chinese Outbound Companies
The professional visits arranged by China Legal Change Center gave workshop members a good opportunity to get a close look at China’s economic and industrial development.
 
In Beijing, workshop members visited China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation. Mr. Zhang Wenjin, Deputy General Manager of CECC, welcomed them and gave a brief introduction of CECC’s overseas projects.  
 
In Shanghai Hongqiao Business District, workshop members walked around the multi-functional building complex which integrated work, life and entertainment together. A semi-formal talk was held afterwards with Mr. Chen Weili, Director-General of the business district’s management committee. Mr. Linus Mendjana, Director-General of Cameroon ENAM, was very interested in the design, coordination management and leader’s appointment of the business district. After their talk, he offered an invitation for Chinese officials to come to Cameroon and give counseling advices to their modern town project under construction.  
 
At G60 Shanghai Songjiang High-Tech Corridor, workshop members watched the publicity video clips of G60 and a naked-eye 3D display of Peking Opera. They also visited the exhibition of digital intelligent appliance and tasted the fresh orange juice just squeezed from an automatic juicer machine.       
 
On electric power carts, workshop members toured around the production line of China Longgong Ltd. and the living area of its front-line workers to have a close inspection of the operation and management mode of the plant.
 
III. Chinese Culture and Friendship Tour
Besides the professional visits, members of the workshop also toured many scenic spots and historical sites like the Great Wall, the Forbidden City and Tian’anmen Square.
 
In Shanghai University of International Business and Economics, workshop members had a face-to-face talk with the law school African overseas students. From their compatriots, they gained a vivid impression of the Chinese hospitality and Chinese people’s daily life which was described as “modern, convenient, well-off and high speeding.”
 
At the farewell dinner, Mr. Linus Mendjana, Director-General of Cameroon ENAM said: “China is beautiful. Chinese people are friendly. I am sure I will come back again.” Upon departure, many workshop officials exchanged contact with Chinese counterparts. Some also downloaded the Wechap app so as to keep in touch with their new Chinese friends.