谁在寻找在中国的非洲公司?

 In op-ed, 个人意见

今年,我收到了一份不同寻常的圣诞礼物。在圣诞节那天,我的公司睿纳新国际咨询—第一家肯尼亚在北京的外商独资企业—成为位于北京的“中非民间商会”(CABC)的成员。这是一个自豪的时刻。迄今为止,CABC成员主要由在非洲国家经营或有意经营的中国公司组成。其中一些是国有的,一些是私有的,但我们是第一家以在中国注册成立的非洲公司的身份加入中非民间商会的公司。

为什么这很重要呢?它可能不是“世界银行营商报告”中的一个指标,但理事会或“商会”对于海外企业来说至关重要,原因有两个。

第一,信息。当在海外经营时,企业需要帮助以获得重要信息—比如如何合法注册,如何纳税,注册商标等等。他们还需要知道谁是值得信赖的咨询公司,谁可以长期和高效协助处理这类问题。

第二,倡导。当在海外经营时,如果您只是一个企业,通常很难联系东道国政府或其他大企业,直接告诉他们您遇到的任何困难,并寻求他们帮助解决问题或充分利用其他新的贸易机会。

任何国家的大多数理事会或商会都履行这两项职能。在中国,英国商会,欧洲商会,加中贸易理事会,中墨商会,阿根廷- 中国商会……(名单还可以继续!),他们在全国各地的城市都有几个办事处,并且一直活动多年。例如,美国商会于2018年提出了对成员的年度调查—这项调查已持续了20年。该调查对中国的商业环境及其如何随时间变化提供了有价值的匿名评估,以及收集了400多家在中国运营的美国公司的预测和愿望。这些类型的调查也由其他商会完成,为企业和海外政府提供有价值的信息,以便与中国利益相关者讨论机遇和挑战。其他商会会代表其成员组织活动,如颁奖典礼,海外商务旅行,早餐简报等。成员须支付费用方能参加这些活动。这些活动在更广泛的层面上创造了各国之间发展更好经济关系的可能性。

与之形成鲜明对比的是,非洲公司—无论是来自科特迪瓦,肯尼亚,尼日利亚还是赞比亚—都无法获得集中,可靠的信息或倡导以帮助他们面对在中国面临的具体挑战。2016年,非洲商会在上海成立,但到目前为止,其重点是促进中国对非洲国家的投资—而不是相反,尽管这可能在今后会发生改变。在中国的大多数大使馆中也有经济和/或商业顾问,但通常只有一个人,最多两个。此外,咨询顾问的重点往往是引导促进外国投资— 而不是促进本国企业对外国投资。

事实上,没有核心标准确定哪些非洲公司可以成非洲商会的成员。在中国的大多数非洲企业主都是杰出的企业家,但他们往往是未注册的。主要是为了在风险环境中运营,降低成本。

也就是说,这并没有完全展示出非洲在中国不同于其它地区的经验。在英国,一些较大的非洲国家确实有商会。例如,南非,埃及,但来自肯尼亚,纳米比亚,贝宁,塞拉利昂及其他地区的企业没有代表。在美国也同样存在类似的情况,尽管尼日利亚在那里似乎有更好的代表性。在美国有美国尼日利亚国际商会,尼日利亚- 美国工商会,更广泛的美国非洲商会,除此之外没有其他的了。

加入商会重要吗?作为一家在世界各地开展业务的非洲公司,这确实很重要。不仅是为了企业自身的发展,而且关乎努力平衡和管理国家之间的贸易关系。例如,在中国,如果你做出了合理的决定,不建立合资企业,并且你的中文能力平平,你几乎肯定需要一家会计公司来帮助你完成注册和税务流程。你可以依靠朋友提出的适合您预算的建议,但更好的是一张可供选择的列表,如英国或欧盟提供的那样。根据我们的经验,这些服务的每月价格上下差距可达到20倍。早期但必不可少的探索过程——从注册商标,获得进口许可证到寻找便宜的办公空间,这些一个接一个地进行可能是非常昂贵的。他们可以在头几年成就或破坏一家企业。

除此之外,如果外国企业无法正式或成本效益地运营,这将产生宏观效应。如果企业没有进口许可证,他们无法帮助引进非洲商品并解决日益扩大的贸易逆差问题。例如,在我的国家肯尼亚,贸易逆差现在超过40:1 。而中国只是肯尼亚茶叶的第29大消费国,茶叶是肯尼亚最大的出口收入来源。显然与其他国家相比有些事情进行得不太顺利。早在2015年,巴西- 中国商会就与电子商务巨头阿里巴巴进行了合作谈判,以帮助在中国销售巴西商品。难怪中国近年来在巴西出口市场的比例由2%上升到26%。

当然,这个职能可以由支持其成员的中国组织承担。事实也确实如此——今年中国省级商会在埃塞俄比亚开设了办事处,还有另一个中国商业协会在肯尼亚推出。但如果这是前进的方向,那么问题将是有多少扩大商业和贸易的利润和影响会渗透到非洲最贫穷的农民和工人身上。

这就是我很高兴从中非民间商会那里得到我的圣诞礼物的原因。他们接受并鼓励在中国成立的非洲公司的成员资格是积极的一步。中非民间商会可以为我们提供一些必要的支持,但我们的需求比这要多得多,我们要根据特定非洲国家或地区的需求量身定制方案。这种量身定制方案的项目可以很好地利用联合国,世界贸易组织或非洲联盟提供的初始种子资金。事实上,2019年以后非洲大陆与中国之间蓬勃发展的经济关系能否满足穷人的需求,将很大程度上取决于这样的项目。

旁注:我的丈夫是牙买加人。他指出,许多问题同样适用于加勒比国家。但我会在他开始在中国经营一家公司后再请他写一篇文章!

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Edmond is a research analyst who is passionate about sustainable development, innovation, and the environment. Passionate about climate financing, he firmly believe there is a more reliable system to promote equality, growth, and welfare in societies without affecting the ecosystem. Through his skills, knowledge and experienced gained over 7 years, he wants to make an impact in the world of development. Edmond holds a Master’s Degree in Public Policy from Korea Development Institute and a BA Degree (Honors) in Business from University of Derby.

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Hannah Ryder is the Founder & CEO of Development Reimagined. A former diplomat and economist with 20 years of experience, named one of 100 most influential Africans in 2021, she is also Senior Associate for the Africa Program of the Center for Strategic International Studies (CSIS), sits on the Board of the Environmental Defence Fund, and is a member of UAE's International Advisory Council on the New Economy. Prior to her role at DR, Ms Ryder led the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)’s work with China to help it scale up and improve its cooperation with other developing countries, including in Africa. She has also played various advisory roles for the UN and OECD and co-authored the seminal Stern Review of the Economics of Climate Change in 2006.

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Hannah Ryder is the Founder & CEO of Development Reimagined. A former diplomat and economist with 20 years of experience, named one of 100 most influential Africans in 2021, she is also Senior Associate for the Africa Program of the Center for Strategic International Studies (CSIS), sits on the Board of the Environmental Defence Fund, and is a member of UAE's International Advisory Council on the New Economy. Prior to her role at DR, Ms Ryder led the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)’s work with China to help it scale up and improve its cooperation with other developing countries, including in Africa. She has also played various advisory roles for the UN and OECD and co-authored the seminal Stern Review of the Economics of Climate Change in 2006.